AUGUSTA — Maranacook freshman Cash McClure fires up 3-pointers with the poise and confidence of a seasoned veteran. Just 5-foot-5 and 105 pounds, he relies on adept ball handling and a quick high-arcing release to beat defenders.

Friday night, McClure had a breakout game before a large spirited crowd at the Cony gymnasium. He finished with seven 3-pointers and a career-high 25 points to lead the Black Bears to an 80-70 victory.

The win leaves Class B South Maranacook at 6-1 while Class A North Cony falls to 4-4.

This game unfolded as advertised with both teams pressing and racing up and down the court as if it were a hockey game, substituting wholesale every 45 seconds or so. Cony coach T.J. Maines adopted this style when he arrived five years ago while veteran Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt implemented it this year.

In the long run, it favored the Black Bears, who committed 18 turnovers to 23 for the Rams. They were able to find open players on several occasions when they beat Cony’s press.

“I think that’s the key to any team that presses, including us,” Schmidt said. “If you can get over the top behind most of the pressure, you’re going to find some open looks.”

The Bears trailed briefly at the outset, but took the lead for good early in the first quarter when they made four straight threes, one each from Mitch Root (14 points) and Bryan Riley and two from McClure.

“We take a hundred a day in practice,” McClure said. “I was just feeling it tonight.”

Maranacook made six of their 15 threes in the opening quarter, including three from McClure, as they raced to a 30-19 lead. The Rams tied the game at 30-all with an 11-0 run but the Bears responded with a 12-0 run of their own to make it 42-30.

“We knew they’d make a run,” Schmidt said. “They’re a good team.”

The Rams made their final run in the fourth quarter after trailing by 11 late in the third. Cony senior Jordan Roddy scored five of his team-high 15 points in the period. His three-point play with 4:34 left cut the Bears lead to 70-67. Duncan Rogers scored a key hoop on a putback to make it 72-67 but Cony bounced back as Nick Poulin scored a layup off a nice penetrating assist from Simon McCormick and Max Marzocchi hit a free throw to make it 72-70. Maranacook relied on accurate free throw shooting from here, making eight straight — two each from McClure and Root and four from Silas Mohlar (11) to put the game away.

Maranacook made 19 of 24 from the foul line while the Rams shot 11 of 20.

“We made 23 turnovers and shot 7 of 30 (3-pointers) and them making 15 threes,” Maines said. “We also went 11 of 20 from the foul line.

“We both press a little bit differently and our rotations in the first half were horrendous.”

The Bears got a solid rebounding game from Dan Garand, who scored 10 points, while Ian Bowers scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Rams.


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