AUGUSTA, Maine — Fourth-ranked Lawrence of Fairfield pulled away into the final minutes for a 63-56 victory over top-ranked Cony of Augusta in their Class A North boys basketball semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center on Wednesday night.
Senior guard Kobe Nadeau led the Bulldogs with 18 points, while fellow senior captains Gavin Herrin and Nick Robertson scored 12 points each and junior Dylan Martin-Hachey added 10.
“It comes down to making plays,” said Lawrence coach Jason Pellerin, “and we made three more plays than they did.”
Lawrence made 10 3-pointers during the game — including five by Nadeau — to account for half of its offense while Herrin, a senior forward, had a big night on the boards.
“We had to make shots and take good shots,” said Pellerin. “And seniors played like seniors.”
Cony got a game-high 21 points from junior guard Simon McCormick while Dakota Dearborn added 19.
Lawrence (12-8) plays No. 7 Skowhegan (10-10) at 8:45 p.m. Friday for the regional championship. Skowhegan advanced earlier Wednesday night with a 58-46 victory over No. 6 Brewer.
Lawrence last won a regional title in 1999, one year after Skowhegan won its most recent regional crown en route to the 1998 Class A state championship.
Cony ends its season with a 15-5 record.
Lawrence, which lost to Cony twice during the regular season, used its long-range shooting to overcome the Rams’ pressure during the first half.
Nadeau made two of his team’s four 3-pointers in the opening quarter as Lawrence edged out to a 19-18 lead, and the Bulldogs maintained a 33-29 lead at intermission despite McCormick’s 12 first-half points.
Lawrence took a 50-48 lead on Dylan Coombs’ two free throws after he was fouled as time expired in the third quarter, and both teams went into an offensive dry spell early in the final period until Nadeau hit a deep 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 55-51 cushion with three minutes left.
A subsequent three-point play by Jackson Dudley made it 58-53 with 1:59 to play and, after Cony got within 58-56 on a 3-pointer by McCormick with 1:47 to go, Martin-Hachey scored on a drive and a free throw and Robertson added two more free throws in the final seconds to clinch the upset victory.
“The kids executed our defensive game plan in the second half very well,” said Pellerin. “We know how good Simon is and tried to contain him and I thought we did a good job of that down the stretch.”