AUGUSTA — They’ve been the top scoring trio for the Cony boys basketball team all season. And with the Rams in a tight spot, they were the ones who came through again.

Simon McCormick, Kyle Douin and Dakota Dearborn scored 14 of Cony’s first 16 points of the fourth quarter to put the Rams ahead for good, and freshman Luke Briggs hit a late 3-pointer to seal a 59-51 win for Cony over Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference rival Erskine Tuesday night.

It wasn’t the prettiest win of the season for Cony (8-3), but coach T.J. Maines was more than content with the victory over an Eagles team that figures to be right there with the Rams in the A North playoff picture.

“I was really pleased, I thought it was a team win,” he said. “We had four guys in double figures. No one was a rock star. We were all kind of doing what we were supposed to do, and we gutted it out.”

Austin Dunn had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Eagles (6-5), while Braden Soule scored 10 and Jacob Praul grabbed 10 rebounds.

“We had some good looks in the fourth quarter,” coach Tim Bonsant said. “They just didn’t fall. I thought we played really hard. Cony’s a good team, but we didn’t quit.”

McCormick was the leading scorer with 15 points for the Rams, who made two early pushes but saw Erskine answer each one, and who led only 38-37 at the end of the third quarter. The Cony trio had been held in check, limited to only 22 points, and the Rams were losing the rebounding battle to the bigger, taller Eagles with forward Ian Bowers (eight rebounds) in foul trouble.

From the start of the fourth quarter on, though, the Rams found a groove. Dearborn (10 points), who had three points through the first three quarters, converted a three-point play, and after Dunn hit a jumper, McCormick drove in to make it 43-39.

Erskine answered with a Jakob Mills basket, but Douin — who had eight points through three quarters, and none in the third — hit a 3-pointer and Dearborn had a basket and then a jumper after a steal to make it 52-45 with 4:06 to go.

Erskine answered with a basket by Braden Soule (10 points), but McCormick had a jumper to make it 54-47 with 2:28 left.

“In the third quarter, our energy wasn’t good, we came out flat,” McCormick said. “At the end of the third quarter we started picking it up, got our energy back and started making shots.”

Cony’s depth sealed the victory. Bryan Stratton hit a pair of free throws with 2:18 left, and Briggs (12 points) drilled a 3-pointer with 1:49 left to make it 59-47 with 1:49 to go.

“That late three was big,” Maines said. “Minute (and) 50 left, up by nine, I think most people would be like ‘No, no, no.’ Luke’s got confidence in his offensive game. His offensive skill set is as good as anybody’s.”

It was a fitting end to the day for Stratton, who scored six points and grabbed eight rebounds while picking up a lot of the slack in the paint after Bowers was saddled with four fouls midway through the third.

“Bryan Stratton, I thought, was great,” Maines said. “His hands were all over the place.”

McCormick credited the team’s bench as a whole.

“It’s a next guy (up) thing,” McCormick said. “Ian had two fouls in the first quarter, we were in foul trouble all night, and our bench did really well to step up.”

Neither team shot well from 3-point range, but Cony hit eight threes to Erskine’s two. Erskine relied on its size to stay with the Rams, gaining a 46-36 advantage in rebounds.

“Jacob Praul really stepped up and played his best game of the year,” Bonsant said. “We’ve got some pretty good length, (but) they hit some shots at the end.”

Erskine answered a pair of Cony bursts earlier in the contest to set up the dramatic finish. The Eagles were down 9-0 2:11 into the game and 11-2 with 4:45 left in the first, but fought back to take a 16-15 lead into the second quarter on the strength of six points from Soule.

“We kind of took their best punch,” Bonsant said, “and we got right back in the game.”

The Rams jumped back in front, taking a 33-21 lead at halftime, but Erskine again had a response, holding Cony to five points in the third quarter and getting points from five different players — and six from Caden Turcotte (eight points) — en route to making it a one-point game at the break.

“I’m really proud of my guys to fight back like that and get right back,” Bonsant said. “A couple more threes go in, we’re right there winning the game.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM


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