MT. ARARAT HIGH SCHOOL forward Leah Hitchcock (30, top photo) goes up for a shot while being defended by Cony’s Melanie Guzman (34) and Josie Lee (33). In the bottom photo, Eagles guard Kristi Willey (21, white), loses the ball to Cony’s Bethany Elwell (21, red) and Julie Arbour (middle). The Rams rolled to a 56-21 KVAC girls basketball victory in Topsham to improve to 16-0, while the Eagles fell to 10-6.

MT. ARARAT HIGH SCHOOL forward Leah Hitchcock (30, top photo) goes up for a shot while being defended by Cony’s Melanie Guzman (34) and Josie Lee (33). In the bottom photo, Eagles guard Kristi Willey (21, white), loses the ball to Cony’s Bethany Elwell (21, red) and Julie Arbour (middle). The Rams rolled to a 56-21 KVAC girls basketball victory in Topsham to improve to 16-0, while the Eagles fell to 10-6.

TOPSHAM

 

 

There is no easy way to sugarcoat what the undefeated Cony Rams did to the Mt. Ararat High School girls basketball team on Friday in a battle of the top two teams in Eastern Maine Class A.

Cony outrebounded, outhustled and did everything right in rolling to a convincing 56-21 victory in front of a big home crowd hoping to see the Eagles hand the Rams their first loss of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference season.

Instead, Cony rode a 16- point, 14- rebound performance from junior Josie Lee, improving to 16-0. The Rams, who had slipped past the Eagles ( 10- 6) on Dec. 30 in Augusta 53- 45, held Mt. Ararat to just eight of 48 shooting from the field ( 16 percent) and forced 27 turnovers.

“They did everything better than we did today,” said Mt. Ararat coach Kelly LaFountain, who will work to refocus her team with Lewiston slated to visit on Tuesday for the Eagles’ Senior Night festivities. “They hustled, played with heart and went after every loose ball and got every loose ball.

“Josie Lee played a phenomenal game for them and was the catalyst. She was really on fire, doing everything well. They played off her energy and the other kids followed suit. My hats off to them.”

“You expect that from Josie, and I know Josie will rebound the ball well,” said Cony coach Karen Magnusson. “Even though she is a guard, she has that knack for it and is pretty impressive.”

17-0 second quarter

This one turned on the Eagles in the second quarter as Cony extended an 11-6 first-quarter lead by outscoring Mt. Ararat 17- 0 for a 28-6 lead at the half. Lee had eight points, nine rebounds and four steals at the half, and the Rams held the Eagles to just 11 percent (three of 26) shooting in the first 16 minutes.

Cony held a 19-16 rebounding edge at halftime.

“We knew they were a really good team, number two for a reason, so we focused on rebounding and defense the whole game,” said Lee. “We made sure to box out against their big girls. It was a great second quarter run and we knew we had to just keep it up.”

“Mt. Ararat is one of the biggest teams in our league, and we wanted to focus on defense and rebounding, and our girls have definitely bought into that,” said Magnusson. “The second quarter was one of those things that gives a team confidence, but on the other side we had to refocus and get ready for the second half. They can come back and score 15, so we had to step up again on defense.”

Mt. Ararat came out in the second half determined to make a game of it, getting a free throw from Leah Hitchcock and a pair from Mallory Nelson.

Leading 32-13, Cony ran off eight quick points, including a 3- pointer each from Lee and Emily-Dale Sanford for a 40-13 edge.

Lee finished with a game-high seven steals, while Sanford added seven points and four takeaways, Mia Diplock 13 points and five assists, and Melanie Guzman seven points, five rebounds, three blocked shots and three steals.

On the other side, Nelson led Mt. Ararat with six points, Kristi Willey had five and Lindsey Cornelison came off the bench to chip in four. Hitchcock pulled down six caroms, while Nelson had 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. The Eagles were five of 10 at the free-throw line, while Cony finished eight of 11.

With the final week of the regular season here, and the season finale slated for Thursday at rival Brunswick, LaFountain will look to get her team back on track.

“They have to learn from it, figure out what it was they didn’t do and learn to apply it when they come back out on the floor,” said LaFountain. “You can’t dwell on it, with two games coming up. We just have to be ready to play. You want to have momentum heading into the playoffs, so we will work to end on a good note.”

Cony 56,
Mt. Ararat 21

At Mt. Ararat High School
Cony 11 17 12 16 — 56
Mt. Ararat —6 0 8 7 —21

Cony — Bethany Elwell 0-0-0, Emily-
Dale Sanford 3-0-7, Mia Diplock 5-2-
13, Josie Lee 7-1-16, Melanie Guzman
2-3-7, Julie Arbour 2-0-6, Emily Quirion 0-2-2, Heather Leet 0-0-0, Hayley
Quirion 1-0-2, Alyssah Dennett 1-0-3,
Olivia Deeves 0-0-0, Bayleigh Logan 0-
0-0. Totals — 21-8-56.
Mt. Ararat — Chelsea Crawford 1-0-2,
Caitlin LaFountain 0-0-0, Kristi Willey
2-1-5, Leah Hitchcock 1-1-3, Mallory
Nelson 2- 2- 6, Molly Estes 0- 0- 0,
Micaela Mitchell 0-1-1, Lindsey Cornelison 2-0-4, Brigitte Milliken 0-0-0,
Sierra Gilley 0-0-0, Olivia Swan 0-0-0,
Katie Labbay 0-0-0. Totals — 8-5-21.
3-pointers — (C) Sanford, Diplock,
Lee, Arbour 2, Dennett.
Records — Cony 16-0, Mt. Ararat 10-
6.
Next for the Eagles — Tuesday at
home against Lewiston on Senior
Night, 6:30 p.m.


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