AUGUSTA — The Mariners weathered a storm on Wednesday night.

Junior forward Michael Norton scored a 24 points, including key free throws in the final minute, to lift No. 3 Oceanside to a 67-61 win over No. 7 Cony in the Class A North boys basketball semifinals at the Augusta Civic Center.

Cony, which flew out of the gates in the first half to create turnovers and fire successfully from long range, went cold in the second half as foul trouble to leading scorer Jordan Roddy (24 points) limited the senior guard’s minutes down the stretch.

“We like to play at a fast pace. They try and scramble it up so you the shots you don’t want,” Oceanside coach Matt Breen said. “I was really concerned with my guys’ shot selection. Not so much handling the pressure, but the shot selection we were going to get out of it.”

The defending regional champ, Oceanside (17-3) advances to meet the winner of No. 5 Messalonskee and No. 8 Skowhegan in the regional finals on Friday afternoon.

Cony’s season ends at 11-10. The Rams scored 40 points in the first half but were held to just 21 in the second half as Oceanside began to solve their full-court pressure.

“I don’t fault anything the kids did. We gave up too much stuff on the back end of pressure early, and got beat on the boards later, and we’re still right there,” Cony coach TJ Maines said. “To me, at times, (Oceanside) looked tired, but they would gather themselves and make another run.”

The Mariners took a 56-50 lead with 6:11 left in the game on a Sam Atwood free throw, but the Rams fought back to tie the game with 5:07 to play on a Roddy layup. Oceanside went on another run, taking a 62-56 lead on a pair of Norton foul shots with 3:50 left. A Roddy 3-pointer and layup pulled the Rams within a point, 62-61, with 2:55 left.

From there, the Mariners made 5 of 9 free throws to ice the game, while the Rams went cold.

“We didn’t really make a shot in the final three minutes. They were good looks, too,” Maines said.

The Rams led by as many as eight points late in the third quarter, 40-32 on a Roddy three with a minute and a half to play before the break. The Mariners closed the half with a 6-0 run to pull within two, 40-38, at the half, then capped the 10-0 run with a pair of Norton buckets in the first minute of the third quarter to take the lead.

“We had to make a few adjustments. In the second half, we got a lot more stops. We didn’t have to face the pressure as much,” Breen said.

Roddy picked up his fourth foul with just over a minute left in the third, but only missed a cople shifts in Cony’s five on, five off rotation. Roddy fouled out with 41.5 seconds to play.

“We’re not going to sit him. I need him to play when his rotation comes up. Simon (McCormick) had to play three rotations in a row at the start of the third quarter, and he was pretty tired,” Maines said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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