AUGUSTA — Third-seeded Oceanside remained under control until the very end to pull out a 67-61 win against seventh-seeded Cony in a Class A North boys’ basketball semifinal Wednesday night at the Augusta Civic Center.

The defending regional champions sank four free throws in the last two minutes to seal their victory over the upset-minded Rams.

The Mariners (17-3) will play No. 5 Messalonskee (15-5) for the regional title Friday afternoon.

Cony (11-10), which used its full-court pressure defense to roll to a 60-48 win over No. 2 Hampden Academy in the quarterfinals, pushed Oceanside to the limit.

“They run a lot of guys at you,” Oceanside Coach Matt Breen said. “We tried to rotate guys in and tried to use our timeouts to make sure my guys had enough legs at the end. We emphasize conditioning and it paid off tonight.

“They like to cause chaos. In the first half we did a bad job of guarding the basketball. We made some adjustments at halftime. To hold that team to 21 points in the second half was pretty good.”

Cony held leads of 20-17 after one quarter and 40-38 at halftime.

Freshman guard Simon McCormick’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer put the Rams ahead at the end of the first quarter. The Rams hit six 3-pointers in the second quarter to open up a 40-32 lead before Oceanside closed the half with six straight points.

The score was tied or the lead changed hands seven times in the third quarter, which ended with the Mariners ahead 53-50.

Mike Norton put in an offensive rebound and Sam Atwood sank a free throw early in the fourth to make it a six-point game, but the Rams reeled off the next six points. Then Oceanside answered with six straight points in less than a minute to take the lead for good.

Jordan Roddy, who led the Rams with 24 points, hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game and drove the lane for a layup to pull his team back to within a point with 2:50 left. But Cony didn’t score another point.

“They made plays and we didn’t at the end,” Cony Coach T.J. Maines said.

Norton paced Oceanside with 24 points. Atwood followed with 14, and Nate Raye and Cooper Workala each had 13. Austin Parlin scored 10 points for Cony.

The Mariners are headed back to the regional final despite the loss of seven players from last season’s championship team.

“I knew we had a chance to be good,” Breen said. “Our leadership has really stepped up and the younger kids came along a lot faster than I expected.”

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