Wednesday, December 11, 2013
When No. 1 Presque Isle faces No. 2 Nokomis for the Eastern Class B girls basketball championship this afternoon, both teams will go in with 19-0 records. But Presque Isle coach Jeff Hudson is probably thinking more about two losses than any of those 19 wins.
Nokomis has won the Eastern B title the last two years, both times defeating Presque Isle along the way by dominating the boards. So as the teams prepare for the game (2:05 p.m., Bangor Auditorium), Hudson knows the rebounding numbers from those games all too well.
"It's very simple," Hudson said. "Thirty-six to 16, and 41 to 19 are the numbers the last couple years rebounding. We know that. Our kids know it. We've stressed it from Day 1 this year. We have to rebound in order to even stay close with them."
With senior Marissa Shaw, junior Traci Carson and sophomore Anna Mackenzie, Nokomis can throw three talented post players at you, and will have two of them on the floor for most of the game. The Wildcats, meanwhile, love to run and get more mileage out of their team speed than their one post player, 5-foot-11 Meredith Shaw.
While Hudson wants a more even match on the boards this year, he hasn't gotten to the point of saying how close it needs to be for Presque Isle to win.
"There's no number in mind," he said. "Every shot goes up, find your man first."
But as Presque Isle's record shows, the Wildcats have their own advantages. They get a lot of offense from their full-court press, and in fact decided their semifinal game against Gardiner with an 18-2 run in the first quarter. Gardiner lost that game by 19 points and was only the second team to get within 25 of Presque Isle this season.
"Any five they put on the floor are solid players," Nokomis coach Kori Dionne said. "You have to be aware of where every player they have is on the floor."
With guards Kelsie Richards, Kylie Richards and Lindsay Whitney and forward Emilee Reynolds, the Warriors can also get out and push the ball. Dionne said the only time Nokomis tried to slow down the game this season was in a 61-60 overtime win against Leavitt, but she might try that approach this afternoon.
"I think we're better off slowing down the pace of the game, getting them into a half-court game," Dionne said.
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243