AUGUSTA – It was a mismatch, according to the standings. And the Cony boys basketball team wasted little time turning it into one.

The Rams used a hot first period to jump ahead of Gardiner and never looked back, rolling to an 86-36 win that wrapped up their second straight season sweep of their top rival.

“We knew we had to go out there and not let our guard down,” said sophomore guard Kyle Douin, who led the Rams with 20 points. “We had to play hard, and that’s what we did.”

Cony (11-4), the top team in Class A North coming in, used 15 3-pointers to roll to the win. Douin hit six of them, while Simon McCormick hit four and added 16 points. Luke Briggs and Dakota Dearborn had eight apiece.

“We talked about it, we don’t look down the road too far,” coach T.J. Maines said. “We’ve just got to play. We want to be playing our best basketball when the tournament hits, and I feel like right now we’re starting to get to that point.”

For all of the Rams’ fireworks from behind the arc, Maines was more satisfied with his defense, which flummoxed Gardiner (2-13) for four quarters and coerced the Tigers into 29 turnovers.

“We shot it well, but I think we’ve gotten a lot better defensively,” Maines said. “In the halfcourt, we’ve gotten a lot better. A little bit quicker to reads, and better on rotations. I thought we challenged their shots, especially early in the game, which was great.”

Cony’s Dakota Dearborn collides with Gardiner’s Jackson Tweedy during a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game Tuesday in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

Gardiner coach Aaron Toman said the Tigers offense, led by Logan Carleton with 10 points and Luke Stevens and Ryan Johnson with seven each, wasn’t ready for Cony’s defensive pressure and speed.

“Cony outworked us, they out-executed us. Everything about basketball, they did better than us,” he said. “And that falls on me, for lack of preparing our guys for this, and in just preparing them for the chaos that they were facing.”

Cony was leading 8-7 midway through the first when it went on a 19-2 run en route to ending the first quarter with a 27-12 lead. Ashton Cunningham, Douin, McCormick and Matt Wozniak had consecutive threes, turning Cony’s 13-7 lead with three minutes left in the quarter into a 25-9 advantage with 59 seconds to go.

“That just gets everyone fired up, and everyone on the bench going crazy,” Douin said. “That’s hard to stop.”

Cony began the second quarter with a 10-2 run to make it 37-14, then went on a 19-2 run to start the third and make it 58-20. Douin hit four threes in the period alone, while McCormick hit two — the last one coming from just inside halfcourt to beat the buzzer at the end of the quarter.

“Good ball movement is where it all came from,” Douin said about his night. “It’s also (depending on) whether my teammates are doing good. When they’re doing good, I get feeling good and I just start hitting shots.”

Cony’s Simon McCormick goes up for a basket around Gardiner’s Casey Gallagher during a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game Tuesday in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

Cony was 15-of-34 from 3-point range, and also benefited from the return of senior forward Nick Poulin, who played his first game after battling a hamstring injury and scored six points.

“He was smiling when he was playing, so that was really nice,” Maines said. “We just got a great effort from a lot of guys today.”

Toman praised the attitude of his players in a game that quickly got away from them.

“We’ve come a long ways in our body language department this year. … I’m proud of the boys for fighting hard and keeping their heads up,” he said. “It’s a big learning experience for me. I need to prepare our guys better, so as a program we don’t have to go through games like that.”

Drew Bonifant – 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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