It was not that long ago that Chelsea Crockett was filling the cylinder for the Nokomis High School girls basketball team of Newport.
It was the 2017-18 season.
The previous season, Crockett had helped lead the Warriors to a berth in the Class A North championship game where they lost to eventual state champion Messalonskee of Oakland. She was chosen a Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolgirl Basketball Team honorable mention.
Now she is one of the youngest head coaches in the state as she is guiding the fortunes of the Nokomis girls basketball team, taking over for her former coach, Michelle Paradis.
Nokomis interim athletic director Earl Anderson said Paradis resigned because she is the middle school nurse and with COVID-19-related issues including contact tracing, it made her job more difficult. He added she has two small children involved in a number of activities.
Crockett said she was encouraged by Paradis to apply for the job. She has wanted to go into coaching since she was young, teaches freshman physical science at Nokomis and will get an education degree from the University of Maine at Farmington in two weeks.
“Chelsea is a very mature young lady,” said Anderson, who is also the boys basketball coach. “You would never know she is 21 years old. The program is in very good hands.”
The new coach said the minimal age difference between her and her players hasn’t been an issue. It is a young team with no seniors on the roster.
“They have showed me a lot of respect,” Crockett said. “I played one year with the girls who were seniors last year so this is a brand new group of girls.”
She has already been dealt an unfortunate blow as high-scoring junior guard Camryn King has been lost for the season after having knee surgery. But she likes what she has seen from the rest of her team.
“They’re a bunch of hard-working girls and they are super athletic,” Crockett said. “Most of them play three sports, or at least two.”
She is harping on playing tough team defense and generating offense off it. Crockett said scrimmages against Class AA contender Hampden Academy and Class B favorite Hermon were “eye-opening.
“We have a lot of young players who didn’t get many varsity minutes last year due to COVID,” Crockett said. “So they’ve got a lot of growing to do. But I’m excited to work with this team.”
Versatile junior guard Brianna Townsend headlines the list of returnees. She can handle the point guard and shooting guard responsibilities.
Emma Marble, a junior guard, and Emma Hodgdon, a junior forward, will also have prominent roles for the Warriors. They are excellent defenders who can score according to Crockett.
Sophomore Evalynn Littlefield and freshman Danica Migliore, both guards, will also be expected to contribute and Crockett is looking for good things from junior guards Sydney King and Sue Haily when they return from injury.
Crockett said she will be involved with youngsters in the recreation programs as she hopes to build a strong feeder system. She also intends to get her players to interact with the youngsters in the various communities in basketball clinics so they have something to aspire to when they reach high school. She would also like to get them to come to their games.
She has already talked to the junior high coach to make the transition smoother when the players get to high school.
“I don’t want them to be like a deer in headlights when they get here,” Crockett said.
Nokomis opens its season against Class AA Bangor next Tuesday.