NEWPORT — The early record for the Nokomis boys basketball team was surprisingly pedestrian, but according to coach Ryan Martin, there was a reason.

“The first three games of the season, Zach (Hartsgrove) hadn’t been Zach and Josh (Smestad) hadn’t been Josh,” he said.

So much for that. The Warriors’ dynamic duo played like it Tuesday night, with Hartsgrove scoring 30 points and Smestad scoring 28 to lead hot-shooting Nokomis to a 74-52 victory over Cony in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game in Newport.

The win got Nokomis to 2-2 while showing the form that made the Warriors — who returned the core of a team that made the Class A North quarterfinals last season — a popular preseason KVAC pick.

“We’ve had a tough opening schedule so far. I think these guys are used to the expectation that, when you’re picked to finish within that top three, teams are going to play really, really hard against you,” Martin said. “I think that was a little bit of an adjustment for us.”

Cony fell to 1-3, dogged by foul trouble for most of the game that had Rams players exasperated and robbed them of an opportunity to maintain their trademark full-court defensive pressure. Star Jordan Roddy (15 points) had four fouls before halftime, Nokomis was in the double bonus before the end of the first quarter and the Warriors enjoyed a 17-4 advantage in fouls called in the first half.

“The foul situation put us in a tough spot,” coach T.J. Maines said. “But I think the big thing is, loose balls or offensive rebounds, they got them kicked out to threes. That killed us. If that doesn’t happen, it’s a two- to three-point game or we’re tied up at halftime.”

Whenever the Rams seemed to be pushing their struggles aside, the Warriors cut the comebacks in their tracks. Cony whittled a 19-12 lead down to 24-21 with an Ian Bowers lay in with four-and-a-half minutes to go in the first half, only for Nokomis to end the half on a 9-0 run.

The lead in the third quarter reached 16 at 46-30 before Cony tried to rally again, inching within 10 at 60-50 on a Jake Dacus 3-pointer with five minutes to play. Again, Nokomis had the answer, with Hartsgrove hitting a jumper that kickstarted a 14-2 run to end the game that featured seven points from Hartsgrove and five points from Smestad.

“We’re going to be tough,” Hartsgrove said. “This was our goal, we needed a big win. We started out 1-2, we’ve been struggling shooting the ball really. We haven’t put together a full game, and tonight, we put together a full game. We played a full, 32-minute game.”

With Hartsgrove (five 3-pointers, 19 second-half points) on fire from outside and Smestad (13-of-15 from the line) unshakable at the line, Nokomis had little trouble putting the game away.

“Our goal was to break the press, and we did that great,” said Hartsgrove, who also grabbed eight rebounds. “We mainly stuck together, we didn’t blame each other. … We broke the press and broke them down in the halfcourt, which we really needed to do.”

The two seniors were the headliners, but Nokomis, which went 20-for-44 (45 percent) from the field, got supporting efforts from all over. Josh Perry played tough defense, and Brock Graves grabbed four rebounds while providing a physical force inside.

“The other guys that play around them contributed so much,” Martin said. “We have a lot of expectations surrounding this group, which is a really good thing. We’ve just got to learn to play with that.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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