BANGOR, Maine — The Nokomis High School girls basketball team from Newport has taken pride in its team defense en route to an undefeated regular season and it showed in their Eastern Maine Class B quarterfinal against a youthful John Bapst team Saturday morning.
The second-seeded Warriors limited the 10th-seeded Crusaders from Bangor to a 20.6 percent shooting performance and forced numerous turnovers en route to a 42-22 triumph at the Cross Insurance Center.
The Warriors, who limited teams to an average of just 28.6 points per game during the regular season, applied constant pressure on the Crusaders with a variety of defenses, limiting their time with the ball and forcing them into mistakes and hasty shots.
Senior guard Taylor Shaw scored a game-high 18 points and also grabbed five rebounds while dishing out two assists to lead the Warriors to their 19th victory. Senior center Anna MacKenzie contributed nine points, six rebounds and two steals and senior guard Kelsie Richards had eight points and seven rebounds.
Nokomis will now play third seed Mount Desert Island, 17-2, in a 7:05 Wednesday night semifinal.
John Bapst, with just two seniors, concluded a 10-10 season.
Junior forward Maegan True paced the Crusaders with 12 points and seven rebounds. Alexis Campbell pulled down four rebounds.
“We were a little shaky in the second quarter. Our coach [Michelle Paradis] told us our defense had to be more intense. In the end, we pulled it all together,” said Shaw. “Overall, we played pretty well defensively.”
“Once we went back to a man-to-man defense, we picked it up a little [defensively],” said senior guard Kylie Richards.
The Warriors led 15-10 with under a minute left in the first half and John Bapst had the ball but Lindsay Whitney stole it and fed Kelsie Richards, Kylie’s twin sister, for a layup to close out the half.
Shaw had 10 of her points in the third quarter as Nokomis outscored John Bapst 16-7 to sew up the win. She also fed Kelsie Richards for a three-pointer.
“I played pretty well but I got lazy on defense. I need to stay more intense,” said Shaw.
John Bapst coach Mike Webb said the Warriors’ relentless pressure was problematic.
“We didn’t take care of the basketball,” said Webb. “But the girls played well defensively for three quarters. We held the number two team to 42 points. I’m really proud of the kids. We’re really, really young.”