Rams win despite foul trouble
BREWER -- Cony probably wouldn´t want to try it too often, but the Rams were able to succeed Tuesday night without the considerable talents of senior Josie Lee.
Like a lot of players in Cony´s game with Brewer, Lee was in foul trouble. She finished with seven points in 12 minutes, but junior Alyssah Dennett scored 20 points as the Rams defeated Brewer 55-38 in an Eastern A preliminary round girls basketball game.
No. 9 Cony (12-7) will play No. 1 Edward Little at 8:30 p.m., Friday in a quarterfinal game at the Augusta Civic Center. No. 8 Brewer, which defeated Cony 41-40 on the same floor in January, finishes at 9-10.
The three referees called the game tightly, especially in the first half. With Brewer driving to the basket more often, eight of the first nine fouls were on Cony. Barely four minutes into the game, three Cony players, including Lee and Dennett, had two fouls apiece.
Still, Cony led 12-9 after one quarter and extended that to 26-18 by halftime, despite Lee picking up her third foul with 3:32 left in the half. Dennett had nine points in the second quarter and the Rams adjusted to the situation and continued to play their aggressive, fast-paced game.
"We had a game back in the (regular season) when we got mad at the refs for calling a lot of fouls," Dennett said. "We ended up playing really bad that game. So we just knew that we had to keep our heads up and not let it get to us. That´s what we talked about on the bench."
As it turned out, the first half was Brewer´s window to change the outcome, but the Witches were 7 of 24 from the field and 3 of 11 from the line before the break. Without a go-to 6-footer to capitalize on Cony´s lack of size, the Witches just never got things going offensively.
Cony coach Karen Magnusson had Lee on the bench to start the third quarter and Dennett hit two quick 3-pointers, the second giving the Rams a 36-20 lead with 3:45 left in the quarter. The Rams led by as much as 20 before Brewer clawed within 42-29 by the end of the third.
Just as importantly, Magnusson never had to force Lee into the game in the entire third quarter. Dennett (four of seven on 3-pointers), Emily Quirion (12 points) and Bayleigh Logan (10) were picking up the scoring and rebounding.
"Coming into a game like tonight, I don´t think if somebody would have said (Josie) would have played about a quarter and a half, that we would have still had a victor," Magnusson said.
"But as you saw, our team has built a lot of confidence, in that they were able to do a lot and she was being an amazing teammate on the bench. I was very impressed and proud of my team for that."
Lee had five points in the fourth quarter and Brewer´s top scorers ended up being Maddy Bailey (eight points), Morgan Small (seven points, 14 rebounds) and Lindsay Houp (seven points). The Witches had a total of 25 turnovers, compared to 18 for Cony.
Cony was responsible for one of Edward Little´s three losses this season. Cony defeated the Eddies in last year´s regional final and the teams split two games this season, each winning on their home court.
"We´ve got to play great defense," Magnusson said. "We really have to focus. They´ve got a lot of offensive players. They´re a young team, but they´re seasoned.
"I´ve got a lot of girls last year who were on the team but never got a minute on the court, so this is going to be one of their first times playing. A lot of his players, though they´re young, have had the time. So I think that we need to be composed and we need to make sure that we play really, really solid defense."
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243