PARIS — Andrew Fleming is a sophomore whose understanding of the game of basketball will never be described as sophomoric.

With Cony contesting Fleming’s every move from the moment he left the locker room, Oxford Hills’ 6-foot-5 swingman found other ways to impact Friday night’s KVAC barnburner with Cony — crashing the boards, facilitating for teammates, playing tough defense and getting to the free throw line.

Fleming scored the Vikings’ final three points from the charity stripe, including the one that proved to be the game-winner with 12 seconds left in a 51-50 win. 

Fleming didn’t have a field goal in the second half, but finished with 12 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and three steals.

“Early on (in the second half), I got frustrated, but I decided to do other stuff instead of scoring, got a lot of rebounds (and) tried to get my teammates involved in scoring,” Fleming said. “This is a big win. I’d put it at No. 2, behind beating Brunswick (on Dec. 19).”

Dalton Rice was the primary beneficiary of Fleming’s assist total, finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds. Luke Davidson added 16 points and nine rebounds.

“Andrew was a beast on the backboard defensively, and Dalton made some layups” Oxford Hills coach Scott Graffam said. “It was a good win for us.”

Ben Lucas scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the second half for Cony, to go with seven rebounds. He scored nine in an intense third quarter in which the Rams rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to take a 41-39 lead into the fourth quarter.

Oxford Hills (4-2) converted four of its first five shots of the fourth to take a 48-44 lead with 2:58 left. Liam Stokes (13 points) scored on a drive and, after Fleming made one of two at the line, Lucas converted a three-point play to tie it at 49-49 with 52 seconds to go.

Unfortunately for Cony, Lucas fouled out 13 seconds later. Fleming made one of the two subsequent free throws, but immediately fouled Stokes after missing the second to send him to the line. Stokes also converted one of two to tie it again.

“If we’d have made any foul shots that game would have been over,” said Graffam, whose team shot 6-for-15 (40 percent) from the line.

Fleming made the first of two to provide the winning margin. Cony (2-5) rebounded the miss, got the ball across halfcourt and called a time out with 3.9 seconds left.

Alex Neill took the inbounds pass in front of his bench and fired a 3-pointer that was long. Mitchell Bonenfant grabbed the rebound and threw up a turnaround shot from the right corner that bounced off the front of the rim at the buzzer.

The Vikings dominated the offensive glass (10-4) to lead by as much as 12 in the first half. Davidson pushed a 27-20 halftime lead back up to 10 with a 3-pointer to start the third quarter.

“We did better, I thought, the last quarter-and-a-half of cleaning up the backboards. But it’s been a continual problem for us,” Cony coach T.J. Maines said. “We have a tendency to turn and look for the ball rather than turn to contact.”

Tyler Tardiff answered Davidson’s three with a trey of his own to spark a 12-2 Cony run. That’s when the Vikings started to lose their composure as Davidson picked up a technical foul and had to go to the bench with his fourth personal.  Lucas and Tardiff combined to make three of four from the foul line and Matt Murray added a three-point play to tie it at 32-32.

Lucas’ steal and layup gave the Rams their first lead since the early stages of the game with 4:10 left in the period.

“The third quarter killed us because we got caught up in the emotion of the game and got into a little foul trouble and had the technical,” Graffam said. “It says something about those kids that they gave up that lead, got down two going into the fourth quarter, and came out and controlled the tempo and did what we asked them to do.”

The Vikings turned the emotional tide in one play, when Fleming ripped down a defensive rebound and threw a long outlet pass to a streaking Tyus Ripley, who set the crowd off with a dunk that pulled the home team back within a point.

“It kind of sparked a new engine for us,” said Fleming, who had a couple of other long outlet passes lead to easy hoops for the Vikings. “Immediately, I look upcourt. If there’s no one there, I just give it to Matty (Beauchesne), our point guard.”

“Fleming’s just fantastic,” Maines said. “You’re not going to see too many players athletically do what he can do in high school basketball. I thought tonight he was a big difference.”


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