NEWPORT, Maine — Nokomis girls basketball coach Kori Dionne has been stressing defense this year for her Warriors.
She gave her team an incentive to play good defense.
“We do defensive slides in practice, and the girls don’t like them,” said Dionne of a drill that involves playing defense back and forth over the full width and length of the court. “I told them if they hold an opponent under 30 points, they don’t have to do ’em.”
The defending Eastern Maine Class B champions have held their opponents under 30 points in all three of their games, including Friday night’s 62-14 verdict over Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield.
“Coach says we have to work on what we need to work on, and the press is what we needed work on,” said senior forward Emilee Reynolds, who scored eight points. “There were some things we were doing wrong. Today, we did it well.”
Controlling rebounds was also key.
“We work on that 24/7 during practice,” said Reynolds. “We didn’t do well against Waterville, so we knew we would have to do better.”
Marissa Shaw scored a game-high 14 points and sister Taylor Shaw contributed 10 to pace the 3-0 Warriors, and Anna Mackenzie also posted eight points.
Ashley Kitchin’s five points led the 1-2 Huskies.
Nokomis’ defensive pressure throughout the court in the first quarter led to numerous steals, and the quick-handed Warriors turned them into a 23-0 run to start the game.
Mackenzie opened the scoring with a layup 13 seconds into the game and added one later in the run. Reynolds and Marissa Shaw also hit a pair of layups, and Taylor Shaw had one. Kylie Richards scored four points on a basket and two free throws, Two Marissa Shaw free throws and Lindsay Whitney’s 3-pointer accounted for the other points.
The Huskies, who were hard-pressed to get the ball over half-court, finally broke that streak when Brianna Losee scored with nine seconds left in the first quarter.
“They were one step ahead of us mentally as well,” said MCI coach Jason Allen. “They knew where our passes were going before we did.”
Even after Nokomis called off the press late in the first quarter, the Huskies continued to struggle.
“We didn’t really execute,” said Allen. “[The Warriors are] very good and we didn’t help ourselves out.”
The Huskies started launching a lot of 3-pointers, and they had to hurry a lot of them so they couldn’t get blocked.
Allen said they normally shoot a lot of 3s.
“We live and die by the 3,” said Allen. “Tonight we were impaled by it.”
Nokomis limited MCI to three free throws in the second quarter, and the Huskies’ Kitchin hit her five points in the first 1:30 of the second half. The Warriors then held the Huskies to four points over the remainder of the game.
“We work really hard on defense,” said Dionne.
Nokomis held MCI to 5-for-37 shooting from the floor.
“We see ourselves as a defensive team,” said Reynolds.