Rams take command early to avenge earlier loss to Eddies

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AUGUSTA – Beating the Cony Rams once in a season can be quite an accomplishment for most teams.

Having already accomplished that feat, the Edward Little girls’ basketball team was out to achieve an even more rare milestone Tuesday with two wins over the perennial powers of Eastern Maine Class A.

The Rams, however, made sure history didn’t repeat for the Red Eddies. Cony burst out to a commanding 24-7 lead in the opening quarter and avenged the earlier loss with a 65-41 win.

“In this game, they shot great,” said EL coach Craig Jipson. “They didn’t shoot as well the first time.”

EL handed Cony a stunning 39-36 loss early in the season. Though Cony had a full squad in the loss, EL was still hampered by injury and illness. Still, EL held the Rams to just 20 points over the final three quarters and the post tandem of Kristi Violette and Rachael Mack were limited to just 17 points combined.

“It was in the back of our minds, obviously, but we couldn’t get frustrated before this game,” said Violette. “It was really frustrating to think about that game.”

Playing without injured Cassie Cooper, who scored 17 of Cony’s points in the December loss, the Rams (13-2) took advantage of its size inside. Mack had a game-high 21 points and seven rebounds while Violette had 19 points and 11 rebounds.

“Our plan was to push the ball inside, and if we didn’t have it, we’d have our guards shoot because they’ve been hitting everything,” said Violette.

Cony had EL staggering early with an offensive attack the Red Eddies couldn’t compete with. Cony hit five of its first seven shots and were 9-for-12 from the floor in the first quarter. EL, meanwhile, was 2-for-10 and had eight turnovers.

“We only scored 39 last time,” said Jipson. “We were hoping for a game in the 40s, but offensively, they completely changed that.”

Violette had 10 in the first quarter, while Mack had five as Cony scored 12 of its 24 points in the paint in the first quarter.

“We’ve been working on our positioning,” said Violette. “Me and Rachael have been working a lot better together, and we’ve gotten a bit of a groove going.”

EL’s offense couldn’t match Cony’s as turnovers in the halfcourt plagued the Red Eddies early. It wasn’t until late in the second quarter that EL got consistent production offensively. Baskets by Brittney French and free throws by Katelyn St. Hilaire cut the deficit to 34-19. Of EL’s 19 points in the first half, 10 came from the foul line.

French finished with 12 for EL (9-6) while Allie Forgues had 11, and Kelsey Nicolas chipped in nine.

Mack had 10 in the third quarter to build a 50-29 lead before EL chipped away at the lead down the stretch.

“I was really happy with some of my seniors,” said Jipson. “Nicolas, French, (Ashley) Gaylord and Forgues especially, they really battled right to the end. They didn’t quit on me. They didn’t give up. A lot of teams coming in here and get down by 20 and end up losing by 50.”

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