AUGUSTA — Cony’s defense is rounding into form while a couple of tweaks to the lineup are also paying dividends.

Friday night, the Rams ran and pressed their way to a 64-53 victory over Lawrence that leaves them firmly in the Class A North tournament picture. With six regular-season games left, Cony is 7-5 and in seventh place in the Class A North standings. Lawrence, which defeated Cony in the season opener, falls to 4-6.

This was a close game into the third quarter where a couple of momentum-changing plays swung the advantage toward the Rams. The first was a steal by Amahde Carter, which he finished with a thunderous dunk that put Cony in front 37-30. The second was a steal and layup by Simon McCormick later in the quarter that made it 44-33.

“I think defensively we’re getting better,” Cony coach T.J. Maines said. “We forced a lot of turnovers, rebounded pretty well, ran the floor hard I was really pleased with that.”

The Rams forced 28 Lawrence turnovers with their full- and half-court pressure as the Bulldogs lost a little composure in the second half.

“They played with more energy than us,” Lawrence coach Jason Pellerin said. “We didn’t attack. Part of it was their pressure. Their pressure was very good but it also comes down to how you handle it. We weren’t as mentally tough tonight as we needed to be.”

The Rams played 15 players, getting telling contribution from several of them. Senior captain Jordan Roddy finished with a game-high 19 points and gave the Rams a lift when their offense stalled in the first half.

“Sometimes we have that problem,” Roddy said. “Even when we have some momentum, we tend to get stagnant offensively. Once I get moving, everybody else will get moving.”

The Bulldogs led 26-22 after Jackson Dudley made a pair of free throws late in the second quarter, but the Rams closed with a rush, getting threes from Austin Parlin and McCormick and a pair of free throws from Roddy to make it 30-26 at the break.

Maines used 12 players in the first quarter but didn’t substitute five at a time as he’s done most of the year. In the past he’s also played either Roddy or McCormick at point guard, but rarely at the same time. Friday, they saw a lot of court time together and it paid off. McCormick, a sophomore. Finished with nine points, including a pair of threes, and seven steals.

“Before coach put me in one group and Simon in the other,” Roddy said. “It helps get me off the ball sometimes and opens up a little more.”

The Rams stretched their lead to 20 points in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs scored the game’s last nine points. Gavin Herrin led Lawrence with nine points.

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