Saturday, March 8, 2014
AUGUSTA — The Cony girls basketball team needed plenty to go right Friday night to upend Mt. Ararat in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Confer-ence Class A game.
Instead, turnovers, cold shooting — particularly early — and a disadvantage on the glass made it a long, tough night for the Rams.
Mallory Nelson had a double-double with a game-high 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead Mt. Ararat past Cony 64-43.
“It wasn’t our night,” Cony coach Karen Magnusson said. “But (Mt. Ararat) won it. We knew we had to stop the inside game and we didn’t.”
Caitlin LaFountain scored 17 points and Kristi Willey added 15 to lead the Eagles (13-3), whose 16-4 run late in the first quarter and into the second broke open a 7-7 game.
Olivia Swan also grabbed 10 rebounds for Mt. Ararat, which forced Cony into an uncharacteristic cold night from the floor.
“This is a very big win on the road for us,” Mt. Ararat coach Kelly LaFountain said. “Cony usually shoots the lights out here, so that kind of surprised me a little bit when they didn’t.”
Hayley Quirion scored a team-high 14 points while Emily Quirion added 12 to pace the Rams (9-7).
But sparkplug Josie Lee struggled to get into a rhythm and finished with just seven points. She also grabbed seven rebounds.
“You are either on or you are off and tonight we were off,” she said. “They are a lot taller than us, and we knew (Nelson) would be tough underneath.”
Added LaFountain: “We knew we had to contain Josie Lee. She makes them go. We had to do a good job on her, and for the most part we did.”
Mt. Ararat had favorable matchups in the paint and it took full advantage.
The Eagles pounded the ball inside, feeding it to Nelson and LaFountain. The inside game then opened up space for the team’s outside shooters.
“Everything was working,” Nelson said.
Nelson scored eight of the team’s 16 points in the early game-altering run, with every basket coming on easy looks under the hoop.
Mt. Ararat pushed its lead to 33-14 when Willey drained a shot from just over the half-court line as time expired in the first half. Cony tried to claw back in the second half.
Hayley Quirion swished a pair of 3-pointers from the corner to pull the Rams within 36-20.
She then made it a 43-30 game when she again hit another 3-pointer early in the fourth, but the Eagles answered every potential momentum-shifting basket with a few key shots of their own.
Nelson sank four free throws and Willey hit a big outside shot as part of a 9-2 run midway through the fourth quarter that again gave Mt. Ararat separation.
“We started posting up and that opened up our outside shooters,” Nelson said. “It was good to come into here and get this win.”
Bill Stewart — 621-5640