NEWPORT — A red-hot second half lifted the Nokomis boys basketball team over Cony in the first matchup between the schools.

In the rematch in the Warriors’ gym, it was a similar story.

Led by Cooper Flagg’s 26 points and 17 rebounds, Nokomis defeated Cony 78-50 Tuesday night to remain atop Class A North at 12-1.

Connor Sides added 18 points and Ace Flagg had 14 for the Warriors. Cony, which was led by 15 points from Kam Douin and 14 from Parker Sergent while playing without top scorer Luke Briggs, fell to 9-4.

Despite the final score, the Rams gave the Warriors a test. Nokomis jumped out to a 38-31 lead early in the third quarter, and it brought up memories of the first matchup between the teams, an 80-53 Nokomis win that saw the Warriors turn a 34-29 halftime deficit into a 61-39 lead by the end of the quarter.

Cony answered, however, taking a 43-41 lead with 2:54 to go in the quarter on a Sergent pull-up jumper. Nokomis answered when Cooper Flagg stole the ball a possession later and threw down a dunk in transition to tie the game at 43.


“I think, honestly, we just came out a little soft at the start of the third,” Flagg said. “That usually doesn’t happen with us, but I think we were a little full of ourselves. They came out and they punched us in the face, but we got back up.”

On Cony’s next possession, a block by Cooper Flagg that Cony coach T.J. Maines argued was goaltending helped keep the Rams off the board for a trip down the floor, and Flagg was fouled while making a basket on the other end. Flagg missed the free throw but Nokomis kept possession, Ace Flagg made a basket to make it 47-43, and the Warriors were off and running like they were in the first meeting. Nokomis scored the next 11 points to mount a 58-43 advantage.

Cony’s Dom Napolitan drives to the basket against Nokomis during a boys basketball game Tuesday in Newport. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“We know they’re a fast team. They got in our head a lot the last game,” said Sides, who scored eight points in the first 3:31 of the fourth quarter to help Nokomis pull away. “We didn’t do our best in this game either. … We knew we had to take it one step at a time, find the open man and slow everything down.”

For Nokomis coach Earl Anderson, the final score didn’t erase the battle the Rams gave his team for most of three quarters.

“Cony played hard, they played harder than we did, they outplayed us for a lot of the game,” he said. “They play hard, they play together. They’re difficult to guard, because they’re well-coached.”

Maines was upbeat following the game. Cony had a 30-15 lead early in the first matchup but had trouble countering Nokomis’ push later on, and Maines said he liked what he saw more on Tuesday.

“We did not respond well the first time when they fought back,” he said. “Tonight, I thought we played really well into the fourth quarter. … There was just a segment where things didn’t go our way. I thought the kids still played hard, tried to fight through it, but it didn’t work. They’re really good, and it takes 32 minutes of focused effort. I thought we’re getting a lot closer to the 32.”

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