Todd MacArthur knew Jacob Hickey needed only one more point for 1,000 for his career. So, just for the occasion, the Winthrop basketball coach dusted off a throwback.

“I called a quick-hitter for him. It’s a quick-hitter that we used to run when he was a sophomore,” MacArthur said. “I thought it would be fitting for him to run it on that quick-hitter and hit a 3-pointer, kind of a staple of what type of player he is.”

The play worked as well as it did two years ago. Hickey drained the shot, bringing him to the 1,000-point plateau in a 76-56 win over Mountain Valley on Tuesday night.

The Winthrop senior had been aware he was closing in on the mark — just not that night. The Ramblers fell behind 18-8 early, and were still trying to catch up when Hickey splashed the shot.

“We came out slow in that game,” he recalled Friday. “My main goal was just trying to get us back. In my mind, I wanted to get us to where we were ahead for the rest of the game.”

He knew he had it after the shot, as the game was stopped and the team briefly honored its sharpshooter. Hickey took pictures with his team and coach, while his parents and uncle watched from the stands.

“It was definitely cool to experience something like that,” said Hickey, who finished with 26 points. “It’s definitely something that I’ve wanted to accomplish since I was a freshman. … I’ve always looked at the people out here, Sam Leclerc and T.J. Caouette, people like that. I always aspired to be somebody like that, I looked up to them when I was little.

“I think it’s a testament to all my teammates and my coaches. I think they do a great job of getting me open.”

Hickey emerged as an elite scorer for the Ramblers last season, and finished the year 33 points shy of the landmark. MacArthur said he updated Hickey on his position during the summer, but any talks about approaching the number stopped after that.

“Not once since the season started have we had the conversation of ‘You’re this many points away,’ ” he said. “We knew. It was something that was kind of unspoken. ”

Still, MacArthur knew Hickey had earned the moment.

“He’s helped establish what we want to be about,” MacArthur said. “It’s not just about scoring with him, it’s about hard work, dedication and commitment. … Obviously, 1,000 points is a huge accomplishment and I’m proud of him for that, but I’m more appreciative for the work he’s put into this program to help put Winthrop back on the map and make us relevant again.”

• • •

Coach T.J. Maines promised one thing before the season: The Cony boys basketball team would be fun to watch this winter.

So far, the Rams haven’t disappointed, playing unrelenting full-court defense and relying on a bombs-away 3-point attack. The surprise to some in Class A circles, however, might be that it’s working.

Cony is 2-1 so far, and just one defensive stand or made basket in an 82-80 loss to Gardiner away from being undefeated after the first week of play. The Rams have done it while adopting as aggressive an offense as there is in the state, hoisting up 124 3-pointers and seeing 40 of them go in.

“Going into the season, people thought we were crazy trying to play this way,” Maines said.

The Rams were forced to take on the approach with an undersized roster. Guards take up nine of the 14 spots, and Kolton Vining is the team’s tallest player at 6-foot-2½. On Thursday against Gardiner, Cony started five guards, with 5-9 James Hunt getting the nod at center.

That means plenty of speed and a breakneck pace to both offense and defense, and unconventional as it looks, it’s working. It’s early of course, but Maines likes what he’s seeing as far as a building season-long trend.

“I’m really positive with our group,” he said. “They work their tails off, they’re together all the time, and they fight.”

• • •

Two Class C South teams have jumped out to sparkling starts to their season. Hall-Dale (3-0) and Richmond (4-0) have used a balanced scoring load to jump to the top of the class. Richmond had a different leading scorer in each of its first three victories, with Matt Holt topping the team with 22 points in the opener against Rangeley, Zach Small (team-high 17.7 points per game entering Friday) leading the way with 28 against Islesboro and Cody Tribbet pouring in 17 points against Old Orchard Beach. The team also has a capable scorer in Matt Rines, who was second on the team with 14 points against the Seagulls.

Hall-Dale has had five players break into double figures already. Jett Boyer (17 ppg), who had 35 points in the opening overtime victory over Lisbon, and Alec Byron (18 ppg) have been the top offensive players so far, but the team has also been able to rely on Tyler Nadeau (14.3 ppg), Alec Roberts (6.6) and Owen Dupont (6) for stretches during the first few games of the season.

• • •

Maranacook has already suffered more losses than it did last year, but the Black Bears are as confident as they were at the start of the season.

Maranacook is 0-3 to begin the year, but two of the losses (69-67 to Lincoln Academy and 62-61 to Poland) were by one possession, and the Black Bears were tied late in the third quarter of their other defeat, a 70-62 decision to Belfast.

The record is glaring after Maranacook went 16-2 last year, but senior guard Hayden Elwell feels the breakthrough is coming soon.

“If we play like we did in the third quarter (against Belfast), I think we could easily blow teams out, to be honest,” he said. “If we play like we did in that third quarter, I think we can play with any team.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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