BANGOR — The Nokomis girls basketball team can beat you in a variety of ways.
Wednesday afternoon, it was on the backboards where the Warriors were the most effective.
Coach Kori Dionne’s club outrebounded Presque Isle 36-16 and placed three scorers in double figures in earning a 49-43 Eastern Maine Class B semifinal win at the Bangor Auditorium.
The fourth-ranked Warriors (18-2) face No. 3 Medomak Valley of Waldoboro in Saturday’s 2:05 p.m. regional championship game.
Medomak beat No. 2 John Bapst 54-36 in the first game of the afternoon.
In the second game, the Warriors exploited Presque Isle’s lack of a post presence with patience on the offensive end and dominance on the offensive glass.
“It’s disappointing when you know you have to rebound and you don’t do it,” said Presque Isle coach Jeff Hudson. “We lost that game in the first half.”
Nokomis led 13-6 after one, and Presque Isle closed within one on two free throws by Chandler Guerrette and a jump shot and layup from Megan Ireland.
But the Warriors countered that with a drive by Marissa Shaw and consecutive follow-up buckets by Emilee Reynolds.
Danielle Watson, who had nine rebounds, kept the Warriors’ momentum going with a putback to beat the halftime buzzer and give her team a 21-14 edge.
Shaw led the Warriors with 10 boards.
“That was something we talked to Marissa and Danielle about again is you should have a field day on the boards,” Dionne said.
After Presque Isle switched to a 2-3 zone in the second half, the Warriors used offensive patience to extend their lead to 12 in the third quarter, with five different players scoring at least two points in the period.
The ‘Cats clawed back late, eventually getting within three on Ireland’s perimeter shot from the left corner with 1:33 left in regulation, but two foul shots apiece by Julie Smith and Reynolds pushed the lead back to seven.
“They’re a good shooting team and we knew that, and they were just getting on at the end,” said Smith, who scored 11 points.
Shaw also had 11 for the Warriors while Reynolds led the defending EM champions with 14. Those two also had three offensive rebounds apiece.
Nokomis got a tad helter-skelter in the final minutes against Presque Isle’s press, but eventually got the ball in point guard Smith’s hands and were able to convert at the line.
“She’s our leader, senior point guard, she’s gone through a lot just to be out on the floor playing basketball,” Dionne said. “I think that she makes the rest of the team better.”
Ireland’s 16 points led Presque Isle.
In the earlier game, Medomak was able to take advantage of a cold-shooting John Bapst club (14-41) while shooting 22-for-41 themselves.
The Panthers led by four at halftime, but held the Crusaders to three third-quarter field goals while Ericka Christensen and Alanna Vose combined for 12 points in that period as Medomak stretched its lead to 39-29.
Bapst switched to a 1-3-1 zone coming out of the locker room, but the Panthers grew more patient on offense and burned the Crusaders on several backdoor cuts while shutting down JB’s Abby Pyne.
“We knew she was a threat, and that was kind of our main focus,” said Vose, who led all scorers with 18 points on 8-16 shooting.
Christensen finished with 14 points for Medomak while Lindsay Ranquist contributed 10 more.
“That’s a pretty darn good basketball team, they’ve only lost to Leavitt and Nokomis,” said Webb, whose club only has three seniors.
Pyne led the Crusaders with 13 points while Taylor Edgecomb had 10.