Undefeated or not, the Cony High School girls basketball team is a decided underdog in this afternoon’s Class A state championship game against Catherine McAuley High of Portland.

The Lions are the defending state champions and feature one of the tallest lineups in the state. They’re also riding a 25-game unbeaten streak.

“Everyone besides us and hopefully most of Augusta thinks that they’re going to win,” Cony senior Mia Diplock said.

The teams have a championship pedigree as well as a history of competition between them in the big game. They’ve met three times in state championship play with Cony winning twice, the last in 2007. This will be Cony’s sixth appearance in the state final since 2002 and McAuley’s fifth. All that has little to do with today’s game.

“I’ve watched them play a couple of times,” Cony coach Karen Magnusson said. “They’re obviously very good with a very good post presence.”

The Lions can post up sophomore Olivia Smith as well as senior Alexa Coulombe. Both are 6-foot-2. Coulombe accepted a basketball scholarship to Boston College last year and is considered one of the best, if not the best, player in the state.

“Alexa can play any position on the court,” McAuley coach Billy Goodman said. “She played point guard for us this year. She’s got speed, she can handle the ball, she can shoot.”

Coulombe fills up the stat sheet, averaging 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four blocked shots and three steals a game. Smith, a transfer from Yarmouth, averages 11 points and seven rebounds a game.

The Lions bring 6-foot freshman Victoria Lux and 5-11 junior Molly Mack off the bench. They also feature two strong guards in sophomore Alliie Clement and senior Sadie Dipierro.

“(Clement) gets everything going for them,” Magnusson said.

Cony’s tallest player is 5-11 senior Melanie Guzman but the Rams have good overall size and athleticism.

“They look good,” Goodman said of the Rams. “They have a bunch of girls who can shoot, play uptempo and pressure the ball.”

The court at the Cumberland County Civic Center could be a factor since, at 94 feet, it’s 10 feet longer than a regulation high school court. Goodman said his team has been fast-breaking well lately and relying on halfcourt defense.

Diplock averaged 16 points a game for the Rams while junior guard Josie Lee averaged 11.2 and 10.9 rebounds a game. The Rams have shooters in those two along with Emily Sanford, Julie Arbour and Emily Quirion. Bethnay Elwell is a defensive specialist who can also shoot.

“I think we have some things that allow us to be different than most teams,” Magnusson said. “We have guards who are not only athletic but pretty big and strong and post players who box out and are athletic. We don’t have anyone who can’t run the floor and can’t finish.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

 

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