AUGUSTA — Dakota Dearborn let the ball go, and had no idea where it was going as he fell to the floor.

He was thrilled with where it ended up.

Dearborn’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 47.5 seconds left completed a stunning rally for the Cony boys basketball team, which came back from 11 points down with under five minutes to go to beat Maranacook 92-89 at the Capital City Hoop Classic at the Augusta Civic Center on Friday night.

Cony improved to 5-2 with the victory in a game that had all the hype of a playoff matchup given the high-powered nature of the participants. The Black Bears (4-2) topped 100 points in a win earlier in the season, while the Rams scored 98 in a victory of their own.

The matchup had the feel of an instant classic in the making. It delivered. In spades.

“(A score of) 92-89 for a Maine high school basketball regular season (game), that’s pretty good,” Cony coach T.J. Maines said. “Great crowd, tournament refs, they’re letting you kind of get back and forth and play. It was fun. It was a fun environment.”


All the stars showed up. Simon McCormick led Cony with 31 points while adding eight assists and six steals, while Luke Briggs scored 18 and Dearborn and Kyle Douin had 12 each. Cash McClure had 24 for Maranacook. Tim Worster, who reveled in the big-game atmosphere while hitting six 3-pointers, scored 26. Casey Cormier scored 20 for the Black Bears.

“It was a great game,” Maranacook coach Travis Magnusson said. “Our kids shot it well, there are a lot of positives. Cony’s really, really good. They do this to a lot of people.”

And as the game was winding down, it felt like the momentum was entirely with Maranacook. The Black Bears turned a 41-41 halftime score into a 69-57 lead late in the third, and then after the Rams got within three early in the fourth, surged again to go up 81-70 on a Cormier three with 5:08 to go.

The lead was still healthy at six when McClure hit a pair of free throws to make it 87-81 with 1:46 to play, but the Rams came to life. A shot off the glass and then layup by McCormick cut the lead to 2 with 1:02 left, and the Rams got the rebound of a missed Black Bears free throw. The ball eventually found its way to Dearborn at the top of the arc, who pulled up for the shot while absorbing contact from the approaching defender.

The ball splashed through, and Cony had its first lead since two minutes remained in the first half.

“You’re praying. As soon as you let it go, you’re praying. That’s one we needed,” Dearborn said. “I had no idea (where it was). I was hoping.”


Dearborn missed the free throw, but Douin punched the rebound out to allow Cony to keep possession. Maranacook had to foul McCormick, he hit all four free throws, and McClure missed a half-court heave at the buzzer.

“They’re a really good team, and when we played Hampden and Messalonskee (in losses), two top-tier teams in our league, we buckled in the third quarter and they went on runs,” said McCormick, who scored 25 of his points in the second half. “I think this time, we were a lot tougher this game. Our comeback showed our toughness and what we can do.”

Maines said the win was important after the close losses to the Broncos and Eagles.

“We needed a win against a good team,” Maines said. “We’ve had two games now with Hampden and Messo where it was a three-point game in the fourth quarter early, and the same thing this time, except it went to 11 right around the four-and-a-half minute mark. And then we just started making plays.”

It looked like Maranacook would be the team making the statement as McClure, Worster and Cormier hit dagger after dagger and players like Joey Dupont (11 rebounds), Elijas Bergdahl (eight) and Skyler Boucher (six) at times overpowered the Rams on the boards.

The top player for most of the game was Worster, who had six threes, the last of which put Maranacook ahead 69-57 in the closing minute of the third quarter.


“The energy in the building was really good, that really got me going when I hit the first couple,” he said. “I just kept shooting. The energy kept it going.”

Magnusson said a few miscues prevented the Black Bears from hanging on.

“We feel like we played really, really well,” he said. “We shot the ball well, we just missed a couple of layups in the fourth quarter, had a couple of mental lapses. And then our defense has to get a lot better. … We’re not going to get to where we want to get if we’re giving up 92 points.”

He added, though, that the night provided more positives than negatives.

“They’re a great team, and we were ahead most of the game, we just didn’t finish it,” he said. “Hopefully, if we play them again, we’ll finish it a little better.”

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