FAIRFIELD — There’s loud, and there’s Folsom Gym on the opening night of the basketball season loud.

Friday night, the Lawrence High School boys basketball team hosted Cony. Old rivals, first game of the season, and a rematch of last February’s Class A North semifinal game, won by an underdog Lawrence.

Yeah, it’s gonna get loud.

A close game in the first half, this one was all Cony in the second, and the Rams pulled away with a 73-48 win.

We have a band, cranking away at the theme from the Avengers movies. We have the Lawrence student section, the Rowdies, cheering like banshees. If it’s not the smallest Class A gym in the state, Folsom is certainly near the top of that list.

Folsom is a phone booth in a wide open digital world, and that’s why few gyms in Maine can match its atmosphere, especially on opening night. It’s the perfect gym in which to open the season. It’s a taste of the tournament before Christmas.

“You can have 10 people in here and it sounds like 1,000,” Cony coach TJ Maines said. “It’s a great place to start the season.”

The band plays “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones during pregame warmups. The “Hey ho! Let’s go!” lingers. The court shakes. That’s not hyperbole or a metaphor. The court actually shakes.

When the Rowdies sang “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” as Cony’s Simon McCormick shot a free throw, it’s louder than in other gyms. It doesn’t work, McCormick sank the front end of a one-and-one, but it’s louder.

Before the game, McCormick, a senior captain, told his younger teammates what to expect.

“I wasn’t trying to sugarcoat it. I told them it was going to be loud.” McCormick said.

In the second half, with the Rowdies talking trash to him, McCormick just pointed in their direction and smiled.

“Coach (Maines) doesn’t want us talking back, so I just looked back and laughed,” McCormick said.

Cony’s up-tempo, full court controlled chaos style of play fits the Folsom atmosphere perfectly. To slow down would let the noise overtake the Rams. The Lawrence fans radiate fullcourt malice. At their pace, the Rams can try to outrun it.

Early, Cony did just that, taking an 8-0 lead just under three minutes into the game. After a timeout, the Bulldogs regained their composure and tightened the game. Twice late in the second quarter, Lawrence tied the score.

Ahead 25-22 at the half, Cony set the tone for the rest of the game in the first seconds of the third quarter. A Riley Geyer 3-pointer 10 seconds in increased the Rams lead to six points. A steal and Dakota Dearborn layup 15 seconds later and the Rams lead was eight. A steal and a Kyle Douin layup eight seconds after that, and the Cony lead was 10 points, 33 seconds into the second half.

It went that way much of the second half. Cony pressure led to Lawrence turnovers (31 turnovers in all) and the Rams pulled away. McCormick had 11 steals for the Rams.

That led to something rarely heard in Folsom Gym.

Silence.

 

 

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