AUGUSTA — The Cony and Winslow boys basketball teams had work to do entering this season.

Both teams lost core players from a season ago. For the Rams, those players were Simon McCormick and Dakota Dearborn, who guided Cony to the brink of the Class A championship game. For the Black Raiders, it was Colby Pomeroy, one of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s best players and the go-to scorer on a playoff team in Class B.

Those teams met Friday, with Cony beating Winslow 73-67. Kam Douin had 16 points for Cony and Parker Sergent added 14, while Jason Reynolds had 27 points and 18 rebounds for Winslow.

With McCormick’s and Dearborn’s departures, Cony lost its most effective scorers, players who could be counted on for anywhere from 20 to 30 points each game. With McCormick, the Rams lost their best ball-handler in pressure moments and their tone-setter on defense.

Instead, it’s about depth this year at Cony. Luke Briggs emerged as a potential leading player on the stat sheet, but in Kyle Douin (13 points) and rising role players like Kam Douin, Sergent, Bennett Carter (13 points) and Isaac Gammon, there are others on the roster who can be in the spotlight each game.

“It’s really spread out. I think we have seven or eight guys who could score 20 in a game,” said coach T.J. Maines, who added that Brayden Barbeau has helped pick up the slack on defense. “(It’s) an interesting place to be in. I’ve never had that before. We don’t have one guy that’s a dominant scorer, and we have a bunch of kids that can play.”

Winslow’s Jason Reynolds goes up for a layup during a game against Cony on Friday night in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

That depth was on display Friday night, as four players reached double figures and allowed Cony to prevail in what became a game of runs. A 21-4 tear put the Rams up 41-25 in the second quarter, but Winslow ended the second quarter on a 12-0 run and started the third on a 16-6 spurt to take a 53-47 lead with two minutes to go.

Cony fought back to take a 55-53 lead into the fourth quarter, and scored 15 of the first 18 points of the fourth to pull away.

“In games, I’m sure that makes it hard for other teams when you have to guard all five guys on the court just the same,” said Kam Douin, a sophomore. “They can all score double digits on any night.”

Kam Douin said the team was confident going in that it would still be able to score this season.

“I think a lot of people thought that from the outside,” he said. “But I think inside, we knew that there were a lot of really good players coming up.”

As for the player who handles the ball in crunch time, or who’s even on the court for those moments, Maines said it’s still working itself out.

“We don’t know. We haven’t been in that spot,” said Maines, who praised McCormick’s and Dearborn’s leadership abilities as much as their on-court skills. “I couldn’t tell you right now who would be the five guys that we want on the floor. That’s really how kind of even things are.”

It’s been a similar process at Winslow, which relied heavily on Pomeroy’s scoring last season.

“We’re obviously going to miss Colby’s production, so we’re going to have to kind of solve that,” coach Ken Lindlof said. “I think we’ve got some guys that can score the ball, not like Colby, maybe, individually.”

Like the Rams, the Black Raiders are finding the answer in numbers. Reynolds — the only other player last year to average double figures — and Andrew Poulin are returning starters, but Reid Gagnon, Holden Dart and Nick Girard are also candidates for bigger roles.

“It’s a little different approach this year,” Lindlof said. “We don’t have a definite go-to. I think we’ll find our identity as we build this year.”

They had a go-to on Friday. Reynolds, a sophomore, was dominant for the Black Raiders, reaching 24 points halfway through the third quarter and consistently beating the Rams on the boards.

“We had all returning players except him this year, so we just had to bounce back,” Reynolds said. “I had a big step (up), I increased the scoring load, and we’re going to be a good team this year. We have all returning players, and I truly believe we can have a really good season.”

Reynolds’s play earned the praise of the opposing coach.

“Jason Reynolds is a stud,” Maines said. “The sophomore class in this state is loaded with good players. … Jason’s as good as anybody. He didn’t make any threes tonight, but he shoots it well. He plays with a college-level energy, the whole time.”

Reynolds praised the work of the supporting cast that Lindlof said will need to step up as well to help the Black Raiders going forward. Antoine Akoa and Poulin added 11 points apiece.

“We’ve proved that we can definitely make a big step this year,” Reynolds said. “We’re ready for the challenge.”

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