AUGUSTA — Underpowered against one of the Class A North late-season leaders, the Cony girls basketball team posted arguably its most significant win of the winter.

Morgan Cunningham netted a game-high 21 points and the Rams’ 1-3-1 zone defense flummoxed Hampden Academy, as Cony posted a 51-39 victory Tuesday night. The win gave the Rams a season sweep of Hampden, which entered the night as the No. 2 seed in the region following an upset of Lawrence last week.

“We needed one like this, we really needed one,” Cony coach John Dennett said. “We lost all four of our crossover games and lost a tough one to Oxford Hills the other night. But, hey, that’s a big win right there.”

The Rams (9-6), who also beat Hampden 54-44 at Hampden on Dec. 30 as well, were without injured starting guard Maci Freeman and worked just six players into Tuesday’s rotation.

After taking a one-point lead into halftime, Cony held the visitors to just four third-quarter points as part of a 16-4 run that lasted until the midway point of the fourth.

Cunningham was huge in the decisive run, accounting for 10 points — including a runner in the lane and a 3-pointer to start it and another trey and transition layup to finish it.


“We’ve been working on that ’13’ — our 1-3-1 — and it’s working a lot against these teams,” Cunningham said. “We work hard at it to make sure teams aren’t just shooting open threes. They were trying to do that, but we needed to get close-outs (for rebounds), which I think we did a good job with.”

Though the teams ended even with 26 rebounds apiece, Cony built its double-digit lead with a 19-16 edge on the boards through three quarters.

“That 1-3-1 has kind of been our signature this season,” Dennett said. “It helps us because we’re only playing six girls, and with Maci out it’s hard on them to play the whole game.”

It was a poor shooting night for Hampden (9-5), who connected on just 7 of 32 attempts from the floor in the second half (21.9 percent). Four of those makes came after Cony built its largest lead of the night, 44-31 with 3:57 remaining.

Hampden coach Nick Winchester said he’s expected some bumps in the road this season with a starting five featuring a pair of freshmen.

“(Cony) shoots it really well,” Winchester said. “We have been shooting it well — you don’t go beat Lawrence on our home turf without shooting the ball well. Tonight… we probably had the worst shooting night in a month.


“We’ve got a bunch of inexperienced kids, so I’ve got to know that we’re going to have lumpy days like this.”

Cunningham said the team’s efforts to buckle down defensively made the difference Tuesday.

“We had to push through,” Cunningham said. “We’ve had a couple losses in the last few games, and we were getting down on ourselves. We really wanted this one. We fought through everything, everyone was working together and playing as a team.”

Junior Cassie Lacroix finished with 10 points in a starting role with Freeman unavailable. Cale Barajas and Megan Fichthorn (team-high nine rebounds), each added eight points in the win.

Lucy Wiles and Caitlyn Murphy led Hampden with 13 points apiece. Wiles added seven rebounds with Murphy pulling down six.

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