Tuesday, March 11, 2014
It's about a three-hour drive from Nokomis Regional High School to Presque Isle High School, but this is becoming one of the best rivalries in Maine high school girls basketball.
Ever since Nokomis joined Class B for the 2009-10 season, the Warriors and Presque Isle have met at some point in the Eastern B tournament. They'll go at it again at 2:05 p.m., Saturday, at Bangor Auditorium for the Eastern B title.
But Nokomis coach Michelle Paradis isn't focusing on the rivalry, and she isn't focusing entirely on Presque Isle, either.
"We have to just play our game," Paradis said. "I was under the impression that I had to get my kids to watch game film and stuff, but I think I psych them out when I do that. We just have to come out and play however we're going to play, and just play hard."
Nokomis is coming off a 45-40 win over Camden Hills, when the Warriors won by ending the game on a 12-0 run. Five different players scored at least five points for the Warriors, and Kylie Richards stepped up and hit a game-winning 3-pointer.
"I thought they played really well (against Camden Hills)," Presque Isle coach Jeff Hudson said. "I was impressed with them. I'd seen them on TV a couple times. This was the best I saw them (play)."
Presque Isle is undefeated, and has only been challenged in its three games against Mt. Desert Island, the last meeting Wednesday in the semifinals. When Nokomis has gotten past Presque Isle in the tournament, rebounding has been the main reason.
"If you watch our game against MDI, we almost lost it because we didn't rebound in the first half," Hudson said. "It's the same old story. We shoot a lot of 3s, but if you don't do the little things -- play defense, rebound, and box out, you're going to be in trouble."
Kylie Richards, Kelsie Richards, Lindsay Whitney, and Taylor Shaw can all shoot the 3 for Nokomis. Hudson is also concerned about the inside play of Anna MacKenzie, Traci Carson, and Mikayla Charters.
"We've got to make sure we don't let the bigs kill us inside," Hudson said. "They play really well. We've got to make sure that we take care of the inside, and we play physical, and play tough -- and then play our game. We've got to run the floor. If doesn't matter if we play Nokomis or we play John Bapst -- we've got to make sure we run the floor."
Presque Isle will surely run and shoot 3s, and with Hannah Graham, Chandler Guerrette, and Megan Ireland, they have the people to play that style. Center Meredith Shaw can also free up the outside.
"We have to stop their dribble penetration," Paradis said. "They are great shooters, so we have to get out on the shooters, and we can't let them penetrate and kick it back out to the shooter."
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243