READFIELD — With only seven healthy players, including a call-up from the junior varsity squad, the Cony girls basketball team still found a way to win.

Head coach John Dennett stopped shy of calling the Rams’ 50-43 Tuesday night win over Maranacook a signature victory, but he was impressed nonetheless with the manner in which his squad fought off the Black Bears in the second half to improve to 5-2 in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.

“Signature wins — talk to me in the last two weeks of the season and we can talk about those,” Dennett said. “I will say this one does mean a little bit more. (Maranacook) is a very physical team. I thought they were going to out-physical us and get all the loose balls and be more aggressive, but our girls hung around and did well and did what was asked of them.”

That being said, the calendar says it’s now January — and January means that the postseason tournament play is barely six weeks away.

For Maranacook (4-3) it’s about finding the right pieces on a team that, like Cony, runs only about seven deep in its lineup.

“Both of us are kind of battling for those middle slots in playoffs, so I think both of us have room for improvement,” Maranacook coach Karen Magnusson said. “We’ve got to continue to battle to continue to get better.


“We’re not deep. That does limit a lot of the things you can do. If you have eight or nine, you would press (Cony) the whole game, because they were only playing six kids. But we’re in the same boat. Both of us are still trying to find our identity and both of us are trying to figure out where it all fits for the end of the season.”

Without sophomore forward Abby Morrill on Tuesday, the Rams relied on Sage Fortin, Morgan Cunningham, Maci Freeman and Cale Barajas to carry the bulk of the load.

Maranacook’s Kaleigh Kubicki tries to get around Cony’s Maci Freeman during a girls basketball game Tuesday in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Fortin, the lone senior in that group, led all scorers with a game-high 14 points. She also pulled down nine rebounds and only left the floor briefly following a third-quarter collision.

Fortin shone as the Rams’ floor general late while Maranacook tried to claw back in the final minutes of play. Her sure-handedness at the point paid off when she drove the lane for her final points of the night with 1:57 remaining.

“We’re looking to make the Civic Center and be one of the top teams there,” Fortin said. “We’re striving to beat the teams like Lawrence and Gardiner. This is the time when it’s picking up and teams are setting their seeds and where they’re going to be going forward.

“These games are really important to us.”


Freeman finished with 11 points, while Cunningham and Barajas ended with nine and seven, respectively.

Maranacook received 12-point efforts from both Eliza Pattershall and Allie LaBelle, with Pattershall cutting Cony’s lead to two points at 36-34 with her bucket with 1:05 left in the third quarter.

But the Rams opened the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run to build their largest lead of the night at 47-36 midway through the final period and never looked back. Cony forced the Black Bears into four of their 24 turnovers during the pivotal stretch.

“Before practice even started (Monday, it was 8:30 in the morning,” Dennett said. “I told them we needed to have one of the best practices of the year. I told them, ‘They wear knee pads, we don’t. They dive on the floor, we don’t. They go after every loose ball, and we don’t.’ “

Fortin said the message was received.

“We were really aggressive and we moved the ball the best we’ve ever moved it. It was quick and it took the defense off their feet.”

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