AUGUSTA — You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from the crowd moments after Liz Noddin’s shot fell through the basket.

The Skowhegan girls basketball team had won its first Eastern Maine Class A championship since 1979. The clock read 0:00 as Noddin’s shot gave the Indians a 38-36 win against Brunswick. None of the players, of course, were around when the Indians went unbeaten that season 31 years ago. It’s likely many of their parents were still in elementary school, scarcely aware of the gas crunch, the Iranian hostage crisis or even the ubiquitous disco music.

While Brunswick fans were loud and supportive, the Skowhegan side of the Augusta Civic Center was subdued, perhaps fearful of being burned one more time.

“We’ve been here four times in the last six years in the Eastern Maine championship game and we’ve lost every single time,” Skowhegan point guard Whitney Jones said.

You don’t have to remind Joyce Hill. She may have been the happiest person in the building when Noddin’s shot went through the net. A diehard Indians sports fan, Hill was there in 1979 when Skowhegan won its last regional basketball title. Her husband Bart, also in attendance Friday afternoon, was on the coaching staff.

“He was an assistant when we won Eastern Maine, to Jim Ramsey,” Hill said.

Ramsey remains a teacher at the high school and was just one in a line of successful coaches at the school, which included Red McMichael and Paul True before Heath Cowan took the job six years ago.

The Skowhegan girls program during the past 30 years has arguably been second best to Cony in Eastern Maine, yet there was always someone in its path. If it wasn’t Cony and coach Paul Vachon — winners of 11 Eastern Maine titles — it was Lawrence and Cindy Blodgett, or Mt. Blue and Heather Ernest, or Nokomis and Danielle Clark.

It seemed as if it would take a miracle to break the drought. Hello, Liz Noddin.

“We wanted to be that team to go to states since that team in 1979 or whenever the last team went,” Noddin said.

Noddin can be excused for being a little fuzzy on the year. This was her moment and the team’s. Even Cowan, often the most emotional person in the gym, deferred praise to others.

“It’s been a long time,” Cowan said. “Honestly, it’s a testament to our coaches, not me specifically but our assistant coaches, our JV and freshman coaches, our eighth grade coaches. From top to bottom we’ve got a good thing in place.”

Perhaps the title will ignite a dynasty the way it did for Vachon and Cony back in 1987. Maybe it won’t, but few will forget Noddin’s shot and 2010 championship.

“Holy cow,” Hill said. “I couldn’t believe it, I’m exhausted.”

The ball touched three players in eight seconds, going from end line to the opposite basket in a play that was improvised on the go after Brunswick changed its defensive press following a timeout.

“It was well played,” Hill said. “It was perfect. It had to be perfect. And Liz Noddin, God love her, she’s one of our field hockey players.”

In a bit of irony, the field hockey team won its 12th straight Eastern Maine championship this year but had its streak of state titles snapped at eight in a row.

Who said this wasn’t Skowhegan’s year?

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.