AUGUSTA, Maine — The Nokomis of Newport girls basketball team discovered its identity the hard way earlier this month when the Warriors gave up 76 points in a lopsided loss to Camden Hills of Rockport.
“We are not a team that can go up and down the court. We can’t do it, and we’ve never done that,” said Nokomis coach Michelle Paradis. “We really need to slow the ball down and keep it to a slow pace.”
Given a second chance to face Camden Hills on Friday afternoon, Nokomis played its game rather than sail with the Windjammers and ground out a 55-41 victory in a Class A North quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center.
Third-ranked Nokomis (15-4) advances to play No. 2 Skowhegan in Wednesday’s semifinals. Skowhegan defeated No. 10 Oceanside of Rockland-Thomaston 50-41 in its quarterfinal.
No. 6 Camden Hills, which defeated Nokomis 76-53 in their only regular-season meeting on Feb. 2, finishes at 11-8.
“The first time we played them, we went up and down, up and down,” said Nokomis junior guard Chelsea Crockett, who scored a game-high 21 points in the rematch. “Today we took it play by play and tried to get a good defensive stop and then run our offense.”
Nokomis took control with a 10-2 run during the closing minutes of the first half that included two layups by Gabrielle Lord off Crockett assists and then 3-pointers by Crockett and Sidney Moore as the Warriors led 30-19 at intermission.
Camden Hills hung around behind senior guard Charlotte Messer, who scored a team-high 16 points, and got as close as 41-36 when Kassie Krul scored from the baseline and then made one of two free throws with 6:25 left in the game.
But Nokomis countered with the game’s decisive baskets, both from 3-point land.
First Moore fed Crockett for a 3-pointer from the left wing, then a steal by Lord led to Crockett feeding Moore for a 3-pointer from virtually the same spot to restore the Warriors’ advantage to 47-36 with 5:20 to go.
“We know we have to work off each other,” said Moore, who made four 3-pointers en route to her 14-point afternoon. “They can’t guard us both at the same time, so we know one of us will be open.”
Camden Hills got no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
“Honestly in little spurts you could feel them coming back,” said Moore. “But on the court we were controlling the tempo, so it was easy to keep our composure.”