AUGUSTA — Experience won out, but just barely, as the Cony and Gardiner girls played the first of two meetings Friday night in a Class A North matchup.

Gardiner senior Aimee Adams grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed free throw with 18 seconds left and turned it into two free throws of her own to give the Tigers a four-point lead and an eventual 48-47 victory.

Gardiner improved to 3-0 while Cony fell to 0-3.

Cony freshman Alyssa Redman nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to draw the Rams to within one.

This one was close the entire way.

“We’re glad to be 3-0 but we see things every night that we want to get better at,” Gardiner coach Mike Gray said. “We’ve got to put ourselves in the best position so if the other team does get hot. They hit seven or eight 3s.”

Adams and sophomore Bailey Poore each scored 15 points and added 11 and 12 rebounds, respectively, to pace the Tigers. Redman led Cony with 16 points, including three 3s, while freshmen Regan Bechard and Reilley Fleck contributed nine points apiece for Cony.

Gardiner won the turnover battle, committing nine to Cony’s 15, which included a couple in the final two minutes for the Rams.

“We still made a couple of young mistakes,” Cony coach Adam Rich said. “We’ve got nine new kids on the varsity this year.”

That number includes six freshman, three of whom accounted for 34 of Cony’s points.

“I think (tonight) was an eye opener,” Rich said. “As the year goes on I think we’ll surprise some people.”

The teams were tied at 32 when sophomore point guard Julia Reny opened the fourth quarter with a layup and the lead see-sawed from there with the Tigers going in front for good with a six-point spurt — a bank shot from Jaycie Stevens, two free throws from Adams and a layup from Poore — to make it 42-37.

Poore scored seven of her points in the fourth quarter, including a key putback with just over two minutes left.

“She played well as a freshman last year,” Gray said. “But she’s just more composed and more sure of herself this year.”

Fleck banked a shot in from the free throw line to draw the Rams to within a bucket but the Tigers were able to chew some time off the clock until drawing a foul in the final seconds. Adams was able to grab the rebound over a Cony defender and draw the foul, however.

“I wanted to draw the foul,” she said. “I knew we still had to score.”

After struggling from the line a year ago, Adams made five of six free throws in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers got good minutes from senior Anna Toman (nine points) and junior guard Maggie Bell, both of whom played strong defense.

“We’re working so hard,” Adams said. “We’ve been working a lot on our defense.”


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