December 12, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: Rams remain work in progress

Cony falls to 0-2 to start season

Gary Hawkins
Staff Writer

Cony and its new all-out defensive philosophy remains a work in progress under first-year coach T.J. Maines. The Rams dropped to 0-2 after blowing a 17-point fourth quarter lead to Lewiston in a 64-63 loss Tuesday night. Maines has been using 10 or 11 players in an effort to pressure the ball all over the floor.

Kennebec Journal / Morning Sentinel Top 10

1. Hampden

2. Bonny Eagle

3. Portland

4. Falmouth

5. Brunswick

6. Greely

7. Edward Little

8. Bangor

9. Scarborough

10. Medomak Valley

Weekly honor roll

• Hall-Dale junior Brian Allen scored 19 points in a win against Telstar.

• Gardiner junior Joe Harnett scord 25 points in a win over Maranacook

• Maranacook senior Taylor Wilbur scored 30 points in a loss to Gardiner and 18 points in a win against Erskine.

• Cony junior Liam Stokes scored 18 points in a loss to Brunswick and 19 in a loss to Lewiston.

• Oak Hill senior Parker Asselin scored 20 points in a win against Mt. Abram.

“Whoever I think is going to play, I try to get them all in during the first quarter,” he said. “I feel strongly we need to have a lot of guys ready to play.”

Maines said there’s a core group that needs to play in crunch time, but that can vary depending on who has the hot hand.

“I don’t think they know who they are,” he said. “I want them to compete every day in practice.”

The Rams have forced a lot of turnovers so far, but they’ve also committed several that hurt them in losses to both Brunswick and Lewiston. They committed 24 against Lewiston while forcing 33. And as fast as they are playing, Maines would like to see them pick up the pace. They took 60 shots against Brunswick and 68 against Lewiston.

“We’d like to take 70 to 72 shots a game,” he said.

The Rams play at Lawrence tonight and face a young team similar in experience to themselves.

“We played them in the summer,” Maines said. “They’ve got some good young players. In the scoring area, they make it difficult to get to the rim,”

• • •

Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy doesn’t expect to rely on one scorer as he did most of last year but it was nice to see junior Joe Harnett have a big night in the season opener against Maranacook. Harnett scored 25 points, including four 3-pointers, in a 67-61 win against the Black Bears.

“He was on the roster last year,” Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy said of the 6-foot guard. “He played a lot of JV. He’s a legit scorer. He’s a slasher and he can shoot the 3.”

Cassidy said Harnett connected on seven 3-pointers in one half of an exhibition game this summer against Waterville. Cassidy hopes the Tigers have several scoring options this season. Junior Seth McFarland scored 15 against Maranacook and juniors Brad Weston and Josh McKelvey are also capable scorers.

“We feel we can move the ball around,” Cassidy said. “We have three point guards and a four-man big rotation. We feel like we’re nine deep.”

The Gardiner girls and boys play a doubleheader at Leavitt on Saturday.

• • •

A couple of weeks after leading Cony to the Class B football state championship, senior quarterback Ben Lucas decided to join the basketball team. Lucas originally decided not to play basketball this season but changed his mind. He was in street clothes for last Friday’s season opener but is playing this week.

“Coach (T.J.) Maines and AD (Paul) Vachon had a lot to do with it,” Lucas said of his return. “It’s been a part of my life for so long, I felt I had to give it a go.”

Lucas said he had a few bumps and bruises following the football season but otherwise emerged in good shape.

“I was a little sore from football but I wasn’t really ready for it mentally,” he said.

The 6-foot-4 center led the Rams in rebounding last season and should fill a void in that department. He said he’s not that concerned about conditioning.

“I’m still in good shape,” he said. “Give me a hard week of practice and I’ll be all right.”

(Continued on page 2)

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