AUGUSTA — Ali Higgins at the free throw line with the game on the line provided a fitting conclusion Tuesday night.

Arguably Lawrence’s most consistent presence in a game full of inconsistencies, the junior forward knocked down a free throw with 6.3 seconds remaining to snap a tie and lift the Bulldogs to a 42-41 win over Cony in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A girls basketball contest. Higgins dropped the game-winning shot, then knocked away a Rams inbounds pass with 0.3 seconds showing on the clock to seal the victory.

“I was a little in shock,” said Higgins, who finished with six points, all of them in the second half. “It’s very nerve-wracking, especially with no (visiting) fans here. You know the rowdy home crowd is going to be yelling at you — so, yeah, I was a little nervous.”

Junior Hope Bouchard finished with a game-high 21 points for a shorthanded Lawrence team on a night that saw it difficult to find open looks and a consistent touch from the floor.

The Bulldogs were without Alisabeth Dumont and Bri Poulin, while Bouchard and Nadia Morrison were both nursing injuries, and the team was in need of an effort like Higgins gave. Higgins created Cony turnovers in the paint and hauled down a game-high 13 rebounds.

“(Higgins) is always a consistent presence. She does a really nice job on both ends of the floor,” Lawrence coach Greg Chesley said. “She’s long and lean and gets to the passing lanes on defense. She rebounds and she usually draws the assignment of guarding the top player on the other team.”


“I think our whole team does a lot of dirty work,” Higgins said. “We have a lot of players that come off the bench with a lot of spark. I think my role is to be a little bit of a ‘dirty’ player, getting those rebounds, making good passes and trying to play good defense.”

Twice after halftime it appeared the Bulldogs were poised to pull away, but Cony deserved credit for never throwing in the towel.

Cony’s Indiyah Clark, right, guards Lawrence’s Elizabeth Crommett during a girls basketball game Tuesday in Augusta. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

The Rams trailed by as many as eight in the fourth quarter, 38-30, before making Lawrence pay at the foul line. Cony went 6 of 8 at the stripe in the final period and relied on full-court defensive pressure to chip away at the deficit while holding the Bulldogs without a bucket for a full three-minute stretch in the middle of the quarter.

Three different Rams finished with 11 points, including Sierra Prebit who dropped a 3-pointer to pull within a point at 41-40 with 1:03 remaining.

Alyssa Redman knotted it with a free throw in the final 30 seconds, and Cony had a potential game-winning shot in the hands of Indiya Clarke (11 points) as time expired but could not get it to fall.

Sage Fortin also finished with 11 points for Cony, including three 3-pointers.


“This was a battle,” Chesley said. “We knew this was going to be a tough one. If we can learn to win these battles come playoff time, we’ll be really tough.

Cony’s Kristen Kirk looses the ball to Lawrence’s Lilly Gray during a girls basketball game Tuesday in Augusta. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“Credit Cony’s defense — they hung around. They dug and scratched and clawed and did what they needed to do defensively to rattle us.”

For Lawrence, Nadia Morrison added six points, all of them to kick off a hot start to the second quarter. The Bulldogs led 17-15 at halftime after the two teams started sluggishly in a 4-4 opening period.

In a strange quirk to the contest, Cony committed six fouls to zero for the visitors in the first half. The roles reversed after the break, as the Rams weren’t whistled for a foul until Bouchard finished off a three-point play with 3:08 remaining.

“I’ve been trying to provide a little more for myself this year,” Bouchard said. “I keep trying to shoot and find different kinds of shots to get and see if those are working.”

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