AUGUSTA — Walker Cooper wouldn’t be denied. On a night when the Cony High School senior scored his 1,000th career point, he also helped deliver a crucial victory against rival Erskine.

Cooper finished with a game-high 27 points to lead the Rams to a 50-48 win against the Eagles in the season finale for both teams. They’ll meet again Wednesday night in an Eastern Maine Class A prelim in Augusta.

Both teams finished at 7-11 and switched positions in the Heal point standings. With the win the Rams moved into the No. 8 spot and Erskine dropped to No. 9.

Cooper knew he was closing on 1,000 points but given the circumstances the milestone was almost incidental.

“I just approached it as a regular game,” he said. “I just wanted to go out there and get the win.”

The Rams trailed for most of the first three quarters thanks to the three-point shooting of Erskine’s Devin Duncan (four 3’s) and Tom Grady (3). Cooper scored his 1,000th career point late in the third quarter on a short jumper in the lane to tie the game at 36. That not only ignited the packed house it almost fired up the 6-foot-6 Cooper who sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a baseline layup to make 44-36.

‘It’s out biggest rival of the year,” Cooper said. “It just makes you play so much harder when you’re playing a team like that.”

The Eagles didn’t go away. Shyler Scates nailed a 3 from the left corner and Grady made four free throws to draw them to within a point, 44-43. Josiah Hayward and Cooper hit jump shot to push the lead to give And despite missing two crucial free throws in the closing minute the Rams held on.

Grady made it interesting when he hit a 3 form the top of the circle to again draw Erskine to within one, 49-48, with 20 seconds left. Hayward grabbed a key rebound and was fouled to make it 50-48 with five seconds left. Erskine had a final shot at the victory but Chandler Shostak blocked Duncan three-point attempt at the buzzer.

“I was a game of runs,” Erskine coach Ben Willoughby said. “I wish we could have one more minute left at the end of that game. His kids played very hard and they got up for their senior night. It was a battle. It’s turning into a great rivalry.

Grady finished with 15 points for the Eagles while Duncan scored 14. Hayward added 13 points for the Rams.

“That’s a very talented team” Cony coach Tim Bonsant said. “They can shoot it and they’re very talented.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]


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