AUGUSTA — In a game that certainly wasn’t poetic, the Cony boys had an “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you” moment Saturday afternoon.

Twice against Oxford Hills, the Rams felt that they got the loser’s end of the officials’ calls. The impact showed on the scoreboard and the stat sheet, as Cony was nailed for two technical fouls midway through the fourth quarter.

But instead of folding, the Rams ended the game on a 13-0 run that lifted them to a big 57-50 victory over the Vikings at the Augusta Civic Center.

“We could have gave in,” Cony coach T.J. Maines said. “When I get T’d up, and we have a player technical, it would have been easy for us to give in and the kids didn’t. They ratcheted it up on the defensive side, and we made the plays at the end of the game that needed to be made to win.”

Cony (5-3) had trouble with the double 3-point lines (one for high school, one for college) on the Civic Center floor, and front-rimmed a lot of threes. But Oxford Hills (4-3) had more trouble with Cony’s trapping and pressure. The Vikings committed 34 turnovers, compared to 20 for Cony.

“It was an ugly basketball game,” Maines said. “We didn’t play very well. They didn’t play very well. No one shot the ball well. But in the end, we made some plays that needed to be made, and I’m proud of the guys for doing that.”

Near the end of the first half, Cony led 23-22 and tried to hold for a last shot. Cony’s Liam Stokes got his man in the air with a fake and leaned forward to draw contact, but the official ruled Stokes initiated the contact instead and called him for an offensive foul. As Maines offered his opinion on the call, Oxford Hills star Andrew Fleming caught a long pass from Blake Slicer, turned and banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Vikings to the locker room with a 25-23 lead.

Fleming is one of the top players in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A, and scored 18 points while hauling down 11 rebounds. Oddly enough, he did all his scoring in the second and fourth quarters.

“It felt like he made 18 big buckets, because he kept making those 16-to-17-foot baseline jump shots, and most players can’t make those,” Maines said. “He’s a stud. He just plays so hard. He plays at another level, to me, because of his athleticism, and how hard he plays. He’s a wonderful kid and a great player.”

Oxford Hills led 42-36 early in the fourth quarter when the teams started trading runs. Cony scored the next eight points, tying it up on a three by Tyler Tardiff and going ahead when Stokes (13 points) put in a layup off a backcourt steal.

The Vikings tied the score at 44, and with under five minutes left, the Rams thought they had a layup until it was blocked. Maines argued vehemently that an Oxford Hills player touched the backboard on the block for a violation. When Maines used the word “ridiculous” a few times, he was called for a technical, and when Cony guard Matt Murray took up the cause, he was slapped with a technical as well.

It definitely looked bad for the Rams when Oxford Hills forward Tyus Ripley (11 points) drove for a basket and then filled the lane for a three-point play to cap an 8-0 spurt that gave the Vikings a 50-44 lead. Cony fought back, getting within 50-48 before guard Ben Leet drove for his own three-point play, putting the Rams ahead for good with 2:29 to go.

“I saw Fleming on the left,” Leet said, “so I went right, saw the opening, put it up — sort of flicked it. I knew I got hit, was looking for the call and got lucky enough that it just went down.”

Leet followed that play with a foul-line jumper to push Cony’s lead to three with 1:52 left, and Tardiff made a great save under the Oxford Hills basket to end a Vikings possession. Tayler Carrier ended up hitting two free throws with 57 seconds left. Down 55-50, Oxford Hills took 25 seconds to get off a shot, and when Tardiff secured the rebound, it was all but over.

“This was a big win for us,” Leet said. “We came off a loss against Hampden, so we were on a four-game winning streak before that. It’s good to bounce back. It sort of gets us back on a roll, wakes us up.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.