HAMPDEN, Maine — Junior forward Josie Lee posted game highs of 15 points and 17 rebounds as the Cony High of Augusta girls basketball team roared past Hampden Academy 64-35 on Tuesday night.
Lee’s spin and layup 1:34 into the game snapped a 5-5 tie and sparked a 24-0 run that continued nearly halfway through the second quarter.
Lee scored 10 during that run for the 7-0 Rams, who were ranked No. 1 in Eastern Maine Class A entering the game.
“We pushed the ball up the floor a lot, we saw each other’s cuts really well and we kept pushing it,” said Lee.
Hampden coach Chad Bradbury called three timeouts during the run, trying to change his team’s fortunes.
“It didn’t matter what we did against them,” said Bradbury. “They executed very well.”
After the third timeout, senior forward Helene Sherburne hit a 3-pointer from the left side off an inbounds pass to end the Hampden drought, and Laura Marquis soon followed with another basket.
Cony didn’t miss a beat as Lee scored three more points in a matching 5-0 run to restore the 24-point edge.
Hampden (3-4) scored the last eight points of the half to cut Cony’s lead to 34-18. An early third-quarter exchange — a short lane jumper by Cony’s Melanie Guzman and an answering 3 from Sherburne trimmed Cony’s lead to 15. But a 15-1 Cony run, including 3-pointers from Lindsey Quirion, Emily-Dale Sanford and Bethany Elwell, ended the Broncos’ hopes.
“We were hoping that we could cut their lead to 10 or less going into the fourth quarter, but we couldn’t get a stop,” said Bradbury.
Senior Mia Diplock added 13 points and seven assists for the Rams to complement Lee, who also had six assists and six steals, and senior guard Bethany Elwell added nine points.
Junior Jordan Maxwell put up 13 points for the Broncos, and Sherburne had eight.
Diplock and Maxwell traded points to start the game, putting the game in the 5-5 tie. Cony’s aggressive defense and precision play took over at that point and put the Broncos in a hole they couldn’t climb out of.
Bradbury was impressed.
“That’s a compliment to their defense,” he said. “Everything we did was rushed. We couldn’t get a rhythm.”
“They seemed very focused and excited to play,” said Cony coach Karen Magnusson of her team. “It was great to see.”
The Rams swung the ball around looking for an opening, then getting the ball inside to whoever was open.
“I give all the credit to the girls,” said Magnusson. “It doesn’t matter to them who scores.”
“We’ve played with each other for so long, we have good chemistry on the court,” said Lee.
Lee said they’ve been trying to concentrate on a couple of points, and offense isn’t necessarily one of them.
“We’re big on rebounding and defense,” she said. “Our offense just develops from that.
“And we made a lot of shots.”
Cony shot 26-for-51 from the floor. Hampden was 13 for 50
Senior guard Ashley Danforth is normally a spark for the Broncos, but she was called for four fouls early and spent a considerable amount of time on the bench.
“I really hate it when I sit on the bench,” she said. “I sat all last year when I tore my ACL, so I don’t like sitting at all.”
She tried to compensate in other ways.
“I tried to stay positive and cheer,” she said.
There wasn’t much for her or her teammates to cheer about.
“They are quicker than we are,” she said. “We started in a zone, but it’s hard to mark your man when they’re moving so fast.
“They split our zone really well. After the first quarter, we really couldn’t do that any more.”
Magnusson said, “We usually press and run, but sometimes we like to do different things. We got to do a great half-court game tonight.”
Cony has a few challenging opponents over the next couple of weeks, including a tall Bangor squad Friday.
“We want to make sure we’re ready,” she said.
Tuesday’s game gave her some hope that her team can get through the difficult stretch.
“I’m going back home a happy coach,” said Magnusson.