AUGUSTA — When the Cony Rams start knocking down their shots, it can become contagious.

When they’re not, it can be dangerous, too — for the Rams.

A scorching second quarter and a couple of key defensive stops were enough to carry Cony through its second half shooting woes in a 57-52 win over Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A foe Lawrence on Saturday.

T.J. Cusick scored all of his team-high 13 points in the first half. Carter Cleaves scored eight of his 11 points in a second quarter that saw the Rams make nine of 12 shots and gave them a 10-point lead at halftime.

“Once we start making shots, the team starts to jell more. And once the teams starts to jell more, it’s good news,” Cusick said.

The Rams (4-4) were even more effective from the three-point arc, making five of five in the quarter and seven of 11 in the half. Cleaves made two of his three 3-pointers for the game in the second and Reid Shostak and Justin Rodrigue each added one as they turned a 19-18 deficit into a 34-24 lead.

“Once one person makes a three, it kind of gets the whole team going,” Cleaves said.

“That’s the first time we’ve shot the ball well in a little while,” Cony coach T.J. Maines said. “I expected us to be a good shooting team, so I’m surprised that we haven’t been. We had two of the best days of practice we’ve had all season on Thursday and Friday, so I thought we would play pretty well. And we certainly did in the first half.”

While the Rams cooled down at halftime, the Bulldogs (3-5) caught fire to start the second half, making their first six shots to go on a 12-2 run led by Seth Powers (22 points) and Mason Cooper (18 points, nine rebounds).

A steal and layup by Cooper and a hoop by Powers pulled them within 43-40 late in the third.

“We played really hard in the second half to fight back. We did a lot of things well. We’ve just got to figure out how to handle situations better and figure out how to make winning plays,” Lawrence coach Jason Pellerin said.

Cony shot 4-for-13 from the field in the third quarter, but got a big momentum boost heading into the fourth when Nate Parlin hit a 3-pointer to make it 46-40.

Jordan Roddy (12 points) hit Cony’s 10th and final 3-pointer to extend the lead to 50-42 early in the fourth. Lawrence battled back to within three again midway through the period, then trailed by only two after Powers converted a Kyle Robinson steal into a layup with 2:49 to go.

The Bulldogs had two chances to tie or take the lead, but a turnover and a missed shot from close range kept the Rams in front.

Cony was just as streaky from the foul line (11-for-25) as it was from the field (18-for-51). Fortunately for the Rams, Matt Murray went on a relative hot streak from the line late, making four of five to hold off the Bulldogs.

“Eleven-of-25; you’re not going to win a lot of games doing that. Matt’s a good foul shooter. At the end of the game, we want to get the ball in his hands when we can,” Maines said.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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