NEWPORT — Defense was arguably the biggest factor in the Nokomis girls basketball team’s run to the Eastern Maine Class B championship last winter.
While the Warriors are still special on that end of the floor, the one factor coach Kori Dionne’s club possesses that it didn’t last year is offensive depth.
Nokomis used both of those traits to post its 13th victory Tuesday night with 10 Warriors cracking the scoring column as they cruised to a 60-23 victory over Mount View of Thorndike.
This one was never in doubt from the opening tap, as the Warriors (13-2) used their trademark full-court press and offensive patience to race out to a 20-0 lead after the first quarter, while Nokomis led 38-10 at halftime.
“I think we went out and played like we’re capable of playing,” Dionne said. “Our press seems to get us going early in a game when it’s working for us, and it was working for us today.”
The Warriors’ offensive patience was pivotal in picking apart the Mustangs’ 2-3 zone, with sophomore Traci Carson leading the way with 10 points, while Taylor Shaw had nine, Emilee Reyonlds eight and Julie Smith seven.
“It was completely different from the first time we played them,” said Smith. “I think we were just really relaxed tonight.”
Smith scored five of her points in the opening period.
Nokomis’ pressure defense denied Mount View (7-8) any consistent open looks, and the Mustangs were held to six field goals on the night.
The Warriors have won five consecutive games since a Jan. 11 loss to undefeated Western Maine foe Leavitt of Turner Center, and they appear to be clicking at the right time with the tournament a couple weeks away.
“We took what we didn’t do so well in that game and worked on it and realized that we can’t go out against the good teams and play that way and expect to win,” Dionne said. “We’re a good team but we have to go out and we have to take care of the basketball and play to the best of our capabilities.”
Carson, a sophomore forward, was particularly effective around the basket and within eight feet, while Taylor Shaw, a freshman, hit a couple of shots from beyond the arc off the bench.
“We can go nine or 10 deep,” Dionne said. “The kids, they’re confident in themselves because we’re confident in them.”
That will certainly be scary for whoever draws the Warriors when tourney time tips off on Feb. 18.
“We have more people to look to instead of just a couple people and we’ve been pushing ourselves more in practice,” Smith said. “That is going to be a big help in the tournament because we can have different people we can go to.”
The Warriors are among four teams trying to lock down the No. 2 seed in Class B, and they will have a good chance to earn it should it win out.
Mount View was led by Hayleigh Kein with 11 points.