AUGUSTA, Maine — The Oceanside boys basketball team got caught up in Cony of Augusta’s unique brand of mass-substitution, free-wheeling basketball for the first half of Wednesday night’s Class A North semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center.
But after intermission the Mariners from Rockland-Thomaston played with the poise of a team in pursuit of a second straight regional championship, holding the Rams to 21 second-half points to earn a 67-61 victory.
“They like to cause chaos, and in the first half we just did a bad job of guarding the basketball,” said Oceanside coach Matt Breen, whose team was within 40-38 at the break despite yielding eight 3-pointers.
“We made some adjustments at halftime and talked about what we needed to do that we didn’t do in the first half, and then to hold that team to 21 points in the second half is pretty good.”
Third-ranked Oceanside (17-3), the highest seed left in the A North field, advanced to Friday’s regional final against the winner of Wednesday’s late game between No. 5 Messalonskee of Oakland and No. 8 Skowhegan.
No. 7 Cony ended its season at 11-10.
Junior forward Michael Norton Jr. scored 24 points to pace Oceanside offensively while Nate Raye and Cooper Wirkala added 13 points each and Sam Atwood chipped in eight.
The Mariners also got a big performance from sophomore forward Amos Anderson, who came off the bench to contribute seven points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Junior guard Jordan Roddy scored 24 points — 17 in the first half — for Cony before fouling out with 41.5 seconds left and Oceanside clinging to a 63-61 lead.
Austin Parlin added 10 points for coach T.J. Maines’ Cony club, but the Rams made just 3 of 16 3-point tries after intermission and 11 of 36 for the game.
Oceanside took the lead with a run of eight unanswered points during a 4-minute, 35-second stretch of the second half when its defense held Cony scoreless.
Norton scored the first seven of those points on a runner from the lane that went for a three-point play, a layup off a backdoor cut and another layup after grabbing an offensive rebound, and when Atwood followed with 1 of 2 from the line the Mariners had a 56-50 lead with 6:11 left in the game.
Cony answered with six straight to tie the game at 56-56 on a drive by Roddy but Anderson scored a layup, Raye drove the length of the court after grabbing a defensive rebound to score and Norton followed with two free throws to restore Oceanside to a 62-56 cushion with 3:50 left.
Cony made one more run, with Roddy hitting a 3-pointer and driving for two more points to cut the gap to one with 2:52 left, but the Rams didn’t score again and Oceanside made just enough free throws — 5 of 9 in the final 2:04 — to earn its return trip to the final.