AUGUSTA — Even for a team that’s played a lot of basketball together over the years, and lot of other sports, too, the Maranacook girls learned a little bit more about themselves against a rival they don’t see much of during typical seasons.

On an evening where field goals were hard to come by, the Black Bears utilized a rare zone defense throughout and held off a late scare to down host Cony 33-32 on Thursday night. Senior guard Anna Drillen finished with a game-high 14 points for Maranacook.

“We did such a good job supporting each other. We’ve always been really good at that and had a lot of energy,” Drillen said. “The court energy was great tonight, and I thought it was awesome.”

Maranacook (6-1) led by as many as five points with just over two minutes to play and then had to hold on down the stretch after Cony (2-4) went into a full-court press for the game’s final possessions.

Alyssa Redmon’s 3-pointer with 1:42 remaining gave her a team-high 12 points and pulled Cony to within 33-31.

A Julia Reny free throw cut the deficit to a single point 20 seconds later, but the Black Bears grabbed two key rebounds in the last minute to survive going the final 2:02 without a bucket.

Maranacook finished the night having shot just 13 of 34 from the floor.

“I think our shots just weren’t falling super well. Honestly, I felt really good with how we played,” Drillen said. “We had a rough game last time against Winthrop, and we really came back strong, especially on the defensive end. That was our goal, have good defense and the offense will take care of itself.”

“These kids have worked their tails off, and I’m very proud of them,” added Cony coach Adam Rich, whose Rams have lost all four of their games by two points or less. “I know it’s hard for them to lose games like this. But I can’t ask for much more in terms of their toughness and what they do. It’s just execution-wise and scoring a little bit more where we’ve got to be a little bit better.”

Cony led almost the entire way in the first half, but the Rams’ own shooting woes did them in. The home team connected on just 11 of 38 attempts from the field, including a Kristen Kirk 3-point attempt out of a timeout with six seconds left on the clock that would have given Cony the victory.

The Maranacook 2-3 zone employed from start to finish was a wrinkle the Rams haven’t seen much of.

“It’s new for the girls. they don’t really see it a lot,” Rich said. “They’ve gotten a lot better from last year to this year with it. The movement’s a lot better, they’re getting better looks, but we’re just not making enough shots.”

“We were missing a couple of kids, so our lineup was a little bit shorter,” added Maranacook coach Karen Magnusson of her decision to feature a zone on the defensive end. “I had to keep some people out of foul trouble, so it was kind of one of those decisions we had to go to to savor some minutes.

“I don’t know what my problem is. It was great tonight, but I like man (defense). I like when we can play man, go get rebounds and run from there. But we were taking away space and closing down lanes. Who knows?”

Gabby Green added seven points and nine rebounds for Maranacook, while Grace Dwyer, Kaleigh Karlicki and Kate Mohlar each finished with four points.

For Cony, Reilly Fleck scored seven points and Reny and Sierra Prebit each added five more.

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