Morse guard Kaylee Creamer, left, dribbles the ball up the court with Cony’s Linelys Velazquez in pursuit. Velazquez had eight first-half points to help the Rams past the Shipbuilders, 48-46, at Bath Middle School on Monday. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

BATH — It seems that every time Jeannine Paradis Morse High School girls basketball team steps on the court, the Shipbuilders improve.

On Friday, Morse fell late to Biddeford by two points, and on Monday, the Shipbuilders put together another solid effort against Cony at Bath Middle School.

Morse failed to end its 28-game losing skid — the last win coming Jan. 25, 2018 against rival Mt. Ararat — falling to the Rams, 48-46, and dropping to 0-6 on the season.

Morse’s Brook Kulis tries to gain control of the ball with Cony’s Sierra Prebit defending. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

But, as Paradis said, her team is getting closer.

Cony Rams guard Sierra Prebit (21) drives past Morse defender Kaylee Creamer during first-half action in Bath. Prebit scored a game-high 19 points to power Cony to a 48-46 KVAC win. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

“Tonight we put it together a little bit more, the best that I have seen us play, and we have had some close games with Poland, Biddeford and now Cony,” said the coach, whose Shipbuilders head to Westbrook Dec. 30 at 6 p.m. “Tonight, we actually finished shots. We had been taking good shots, but just weren’t finishing. We finished tonight, and the mindset is there, which is step one. The pieces are coming together.”

Throughout the back-and-forth Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference matchup, both teams took turns putting up points. Morse came out strong, jumping out to a 10-4 first-quarter lead behind a pair of 3-pointers from Julia Goddard and a long trey from Dory Kulis. Abby Carpenter went inside for a pair of buckets, including a quarter-closing layup for a 15-10 Shipbuilder lead.

Morse continued its solid play in the first half of the second quarter as Kulis finished for a 19-12 advantage, and after Cony’s Julia Reny scored, Kaylee Creamer took a pass from Brook Kulis and put home a shot for a 21-14 lead.

From there, Cony’s defense took over. Morse began playing fast — too fast — and the Rams began forcing turnovers (24 in the first half for Morse). Sierra Prebit heated up for the Rams, with her 10 second-quarter points allowing Cony to claw into the lead, 25-24, at the break.

“The second quarter came back to us. We were allowing open shots in the first

Shipbuilder Dory Kulis puts up a shot in front of Cony’s Julia Reny (5) and Sierra Prebit during Monday’s KVAC girls basketball game in Bath. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

quarter, where in the second we amped it up on defense,” Cony coach Adam Rich said.

Morse came out a bit calmer in the second half, going away from its run-and-gun offense and trying to work the ball around the perimeter for open shots.

“We talked about how they extended their 1-2-2 out, so instead of running our offense against that set, we went back and looked to cut into the seams,” said Paradis. “We were a little bit more patient, using the left side of the floor more rather than the right side. We are still learning to make those reads.”

The teams traded baskets throughout the early stages of the third quarter. Prebit nailed a 3-pointer early, and a quick 6-0 run allowed the Rams to gain a 40-32 advantage late in the quarter. Goddard closed the frame with a pair of free throws, bringing the Shipbuilders to 40-34 after 24 minutes.

Fourth quarter

Prebit continued to get free for Cony, with her two baskets giving the Rams a 44-39 edge with 4:27 remaining.

Morse made a run as Goddard hit a pair at the line and Carpenter delivered a short jumper to draw the Shipbuilders to 44-43.

Reny made a pair at the charity stripe, but Goddard stepped way outside to swish a 3-pointer with 55.5-seconds remaining to forge a 46-46 tie.

“They were in a 1-2-2, and the seam was there,” said Goddard.

As Morse took a second to celebrate, Cony quickly transitioned, with Prebit setting up Kiara Henry for a layup to put the Rams back ahead by two.

“We had that happen against Biddeford the other night,” Paradis said. “We have to not react to that excitement, realizing that we still have a job to do.”

A steal by Ram guard Linelys Velazquez was followed by a Cony turnover. Morse called a timeout and had to navigate the entire court with four seconds remaining to either force overtime or win the game outright. For a second it seemed that a shot was there, but the buzzer sounded as Cony snuffed out the chance and earned its first win (1-5).

“It was a good game all the way through, and mistakes and turnovers killed us a bit, but we battled through it and came out on top,” said Rich, whose Rams host Maranacook on Friday at 5:30 p.m. “This is a big confidence boost for us. We struggled those first five games, and I think the girls just needed to get over that hump, to feel that win. Tonight we got it.”

“A shot at the end was there, but then it wasn’t. We are just not used to being in these close games yet,” said Paradis.

“All season coach has said this will be a building season, and we are building that new culture. We are coming together,” said Goddard. “We are frustrated, but we know that we are playing as hard as we can, realizing this is the hard work that it will take to get that win.”

Prebit scored a game-high 19 points, picked up eight steals and pulled in seven rebounds to lead Cony, which shot 33% (19-of-57) from the floor and made 7-of-18 at the free-throw line. Reny chipped in nine points, eight steals and four assists, with Velazquez tallying eight points and eight rebounds off the Rams’ bench. Henry led Cony with 10 boards.

For Morse, Goddard finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two steals, Dory Kulis 12 points and seven rebounds, and Carpenter 10 points and five boards. Brook Kulis chipped in three steals and two assists, with Giorgia Fisher coming off the Shipbuilder bench with five points and seven rebounds.

Cony 48, Morse 46

Cony — 10 15 15 8 — 48

Morse — 15 9 10 12 — 46

Cony — Julia Reny 3-3-9, Regan Bechard 1-0-2, Sierra Prebit 7-4-19, Kristin Kirk 1-0-2, Kiara Henry 3-0-6, Linelys Velazquez 3-0-8, Carly Lettre 0-0-0, Reilley Fleck. Totals — 19-7-48.

Morse — Julia Goddard 3-4-13, Abby Carpenter 5-0-10, Brook Kulis 0-0-0, Dory Kulis 4-2-12, Mary LaRochelle 1-2-4, Kaylee Creamer 1-0-2, Giorgia Fisher 2-0-5. Totals — 16-8-46.

3-point field goals — (C) Velazquez 2, Prebit; (Mo) Goddard 3, D. Kulis 2, Fisher.

Records — Cony 1-5, Morse 0-6.

Up next for the Shipbuilders — Dec. 30 at Westbrook, 6 p.m.

 

 

 

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