AUGUSTA — It’s been four years since the Cony High School girls basketball team has opened the season with six straight wins.

The Rams have done it this season, but it hasn’t been easy. Friday night, they knocked off a strong Mt. Ararat team 53-45 behind a big game from senior Mia Diplock and some solid play off the bench.

This team is not the juggernaught of past seasons. Two of Cony’s six wins were by one point and Friday’s was no easier.

“We came into the game worried about their post players,” said Diplock, who scored a game-high 20 points and added four assists. “That was our biggest focus tonight.”

The Rams had reason to worry. Led by Mallory Nelson, Leah Hitchcock and Caitlin LaFountain, the Eagles (4-2) out-rebounded the Rams 33-22. To compound matters, Cony starters Melanie Guzman and Josie Lee were in foul trouble throughout the game. That forced the Rams into a zone in the second half.

“We had to adjust,” Cony coach Karen Sirois said.

Sirois got good play from her bench with Emily Quirion and Julie Arbour each contributing eight points, including some key 3-pointers.

The Rams led 15-11 at the end of the first quarter and 26-20 at the half, but they never shook the Eagles. They did connect on six 3-pointers which helped against Mt. Ararat’s 3-2 zone. And Diplock and Lee were able to penetrate and dish to teammates on a couple of occasions.

“I didn’t feel like we had the intensity we usually have with our defense tonight,” Mt. Ararat coach Kelly LaFountain said. “But we still had our rebounding.”

The Rams stretched the lead to 40-30 at the end of the third quarter as Diplock and Quirion hit back-to-back threes and Diplock drove the lane and dished to Emily Sanford (nine rebounds) for a layup.

“They changed from a zone to a man,” Diplock said. “That helped a lot.”

The Eagles drew to within five points late in the fourth quarter when LaFountain hit a layup, but by that time the Rams were playing for fouls and Diplock and Quirion combined for six free throws in the closing minute to put the game away.

“These are the games you have to win,” Sirois said. “We’ve won the close ones and been able to finish the way we have to.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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