The Cony Rams used its relentless defensive pressure to wear down Camden Hills of Rockport 63-52 in a Class A North boys basketball quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center on Saturday evening.
The Augusta-based club will play in Wednesday night’s semifinals against top-ranked Nokomis of Newport., a 57-29 quarterfinal winner over No. 9 Messalonskee of Oakland.
No. 5 Camden Hills concludes its season with a 9-8 record.
No. 4 Cony took the lead for good late in the first half, then stretched its cushion to double figures midway through the third quarter before relying on its trapping defense to prevent Camden Hills from generating consistent offense the rest of the way.
“I thought defensively we were really good.” Cony coach T.J. Maines said. “We’ve had a hard time rebounding all year, and that was the best job we’ve done all season on the defensive glass. … Our pressure needs to be better in the fullcourt, but our halfcourt defense was as well as we’ve played it.”
Kam Douin led the Rams offensively with 17 points, while Brady Hopkins scored 11 and Luke Briggs, Dom Napolitano and Parker Sergent added eight points each.
Westen DeWaard scored a team-high 16 points for Camden Hills while Hunter Norton had 11 and Ryan Clifford contributed eight points.
Cony maintained a comfortable lead for most of the first half until six unanswered points by Camden Hills, including a tip-in and layup by Norton and a drive by DeWaard, produced a 20-20 tie with 1:18 left in the second period.
But Cony answered 11 seconds later with a 3-pointer by Hopkins, and after DeWaard responded with two free throws Douin hit a step-back 3-pointer to give the Rams a 26-22 advantage at the break.
Cony’s fullcourt defense began to take its full measure during the third quarter, particularly during a 13-2 Cony run that gave the Rams a 41-29 lead after back-to-back turnovers led to baskets by Ashton Dennett and Napolitano.
Cony continued to win most of the 50-50 battles caused by its defensive pressure and the fast pace of the game, and while Camden Hills did cash in on some transition opportunities of their own, the Windjammers couldn’t get close enough to seriously threaten the Rams the rest of the way.
Camden Hills climbed back to within 59-52 on back-to-back 3-pointers by Clifford and DeWaard and a turnover-induced layup by Quincy Messer with 32 seconds left but Cony’s Hopkins ended that 8-0 run with two free throws and Brodi Freeman followed with two more from the line to put the game away.
Cony made 13 of 20 free throws during the final eight minutes of play.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated Westen DeWaard’s name.