AUGUSTA — The Cony boys basketball team was the best in the Class A regular season last year. If this summer is any indication, the Rams will be ready to pick up where they left off when winter comes around.

Simon McCormick scored 18 points, Dakota Dearborn added 14 and the Rams looked in July the way they did from December to February, pressing and running their way to a 64-50 victory over Maranacook in the G&E Roofing summer league final.

“For our summer league, it was great for us to end that way, and it’s what I wanted and expected out of that group,” said coach T.J. Maines, whose team routed Spruce Mountain 67-46 in the semifinals earlier in the afternoon. “We return our four leading scorers from last year, we’ve got a good nucleus and I like a lot of our young kids. They can play.”

A Cony ball handler tries to get past a Maranacook defender during the G&E Roofing championship game Wednesday afternoon in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

Maranacook, which was the top seed and hadn’t lost all summer, defeated Medomak Valley 47-44 in the semifinals before running into a Cony team that new coach Travis Magnusson said played better than it had in the teams’ first two matchups.

“They’re one of the favorites in Class A and so is Medomak, probably two of the top teams in A, so this was great for us to play them back-to-back,” he said. “There’s a lot of good competition here, so it’s always good, and it’s good from a toughness standpoint too, trying to get your kids to play back-to-back.”

The league, which has been sponsored by G&E Roofing owner Norm Elvin for more than two decades, gives teams a chance to try out some concepts and schemes and mix up returning players with newcomers. But for all involved, the goal is still to win — particularly in the playoffs.

“Most of these teams are in our conference and around our area, so Coach doesn’t like losing to them,” McCormick said. “We’ve always got to prove we’re the best around here.”

In going about that objective, Cony didn’t look like a team trying to find its form from a few months ago. Cony’s pressure was back, as were its fastbreak and ability to knock down any outside shot.

“We’re in the gym pretty much every morning,” Dearborn said. “Coach doesn’t like rust.”

Cony went ahead to stay early, getting 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions from Kyle Douin (12 points) to make it 12-6 less than four minutes into the game. The lead swelled to 10 at 34-24 by halftime, and then to 14 at 41-27 after a basket from Dearborn, who left the semifinal shortly after halftime with a hurt elbow, only to come back and play the reminder of the two games.

“You’ve got to ice up, suck it up and play through it,” he said. “You can’t really let it get to you, especially in a championship game.”

Maranacook fought back to narrow the lead to 8 at 52-44 on a jumper by Tim Worster (10 points) with 6:05 to play, but a basket by McCormick and a free throw from Dearborn got the lead back up to double digits. Maranacook didn’t get within seven points the rest of the way.

“We turned them over,” Maines said. “They turned it over a lot, and that happens in the summertime. You’re not practicing to play against pressure. That’s an advantage for us.”

McCormick said winning the league was both a nice way to move on from a disappointing loss to Lawrence in last year’s regional semifinals and a boost of confidence regarding how good this team could be.

“Coach definitely puts in different lineups to see what’s going to work in the season, and kind of a view of what’s to come,” he said. “If we’re on, we’re making shots, we’re playing hard, turning them over. It just shows that we can do it.”

Luke Briggs added seven points for Cony.

A Maranacook basketball player makes a move on a Cony defender during the G&E Roofing championship game Wednesday afternoon in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

“I really like the group,” Maines said. “I’m really positive about where we’re at. There’s nothing about our team that makes me say ‘Uh oh, we’re in trouble, that’s a blind spot.’ … We’ve got kids that can compete and can play. If we do those things, we’re going to be in good shape.”

Skyler Boucher had 12 points and Cash McClure had nine for Maranacook, which made its first summer with Magnusson a successful one.

“We’ve been in a lot of situations that we’ll be in during the season, so it’s good to get prepared, especially for being a first-year coach with these guys,” Magnusson said. “My mindset is you play every game like it’s a state championship, so then your kids are used to it when they’re in those big situations. We’ve tried to do that.”

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