BANGOR — When Julie Smith coolly drained a foul-line jumper to end the first quarter, it meant that every Nokomis starter had already made at least one basket.

Mt. Desert Island, in contrast, didn’t have five players make field goals the entire game, and that summed up the day for both teams. It seemed everyone had a good game for Nokomis and everyone had a frustrating day for MDI as the Warriors cruised to a 37-22 victory in the Eastern Class B girls’ basketball final Saturday afternoon at the Bangor Auditorium.

“The good thing about our team is at least one person’s on,” said Nokomis sophomore Mary Badeen, who hit all five of her shots and scored 13 points. “But tonight, everyone was on.”

Nokomis (17-4), the No. 4 seed, will return to Bangor to face Western Maine champion York in the Class B final at 7:05 p.m. Friday. It will be the first trip to a state final for the Warriors since 2003, when they won the Eastern Class A championship.

The Warriors blitzed the second-seeded Trojans early, beginning with a 3-pointer by Badeen. When Kara Batchelder added a 3 of her own, Nokomis led 8-2 barely three minutes into the game.

“I think it allowed my girls to relax a little bit,” Nokomis Coach Kori Dionne said. “There’s a lot of emotion going into a game like this, and I think the fact that we went out and hit those first few shots was key for us to just kind of relax.”

Nokomis led 14-7 after one quarter, and the pattern was set for the game. MDI (18-3) was 2 for 6 from the floor in the first quarter with five turnovers. The Trojans finished 6 for 23 with 17 turnovers.

“We took a lot of quick shots early, and they got up 8-2,” MDI Coach Brent Barker said. “And then we took more quick shots, because instead of making a two-point basket, I think we were trying to get a touchdown, where we’re trying to make up seven points quickly.”

The last chance MDI had to get back into the game was when Nokomis center Danielle Watson had to sit out the last six minutes of the first half after picking up her third foul. That meant backup Rachael Tozier had to guard MDI’s Megan Phelps, a 5-foot-11 junior with good inside moves and 3-point range.

“I just worked on fronting her when she was in the post, and when she got outside, get a hand in her face so she couldn’t put the shot up,” Tozier said. “My teammates helped me a lot, because if I was fronting her and she got by me, then they were there to help me.”

In Nokomis practices, Tozier usually guards Marissa Shaw, the Warriors’ leading scorer. That experience helped, as Phelps finished with 13 points but was 3 for 12 from the floor.

“Rachael Tozier went in and gave us some great minutes,” Dionne said. “I think that was probably one of the key factors, the difference in the game.”

Shaw also helped out on Phelps, who was clearly the focus of MDI’s offense with Watson on the bench. The Trojans went to Phelps on almost every possession for several minutes, but still scored only one point in those last six minutes and went into halftime trailing 23-11.

“I never want us to be a one-dimensional team, so I was hoping if we could do that we’d start drawing people, that we’d be able to get some outside shots,” Barker said. “But we weren’t hitting much from the outside. We were struggling getting shots on the inside. They played very good defense on us, and they took away a lot of the things we wanted to do.”

The final moments of the first half defined the game. Nokomis held the ball for the last 1:40. Finally, with almost no time left, Batchelder drove the lane and drew three defenders, then slipped a pass to Shaw (nine points, six rebounds) for an open layup at the buzzer.

The Warriors were able to save Watson at the start of the second half, and MDI did get within 23-14. But Batchelder answered with a 3, and Badeen curled around a pick for a layup. When Badeen drilled a pull-up jumper less than a minute later, the Trojans called timeout with Nokomis holding a 31-14 lead and 2:37 left in the third quarter.

After that, it was simply a game of keep-away. With Badeen and Smith, the Warriors are well-equipped to play that style, and MDI never got closer than 14 points in the fourth quarter.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’ll put my faith and my trust in those girls handling the ball,” Dionne said. “Our thought process going into it, with the times that we pulled it out there in the second half, was that as long as they don’t have the ball, they can’t score.”

 

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

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