NEWPORT – Kara Batchelder is so quiet, you never would know she was there.

But opponents sure do.

Each time the Nokomis girls play away from home, Batchelder’s first name is announced as ”Care-uh” instead of the correct ”Car-uh.” But it’s not her personality to make a fuss.

”They usually either destroy my first name or my last name,” Batchelder said. ”It’s one of the two, or both. I get used to it. It doesn’t matter.”

Batchelder is the only senior starter for the Warriors, who will face York at 7 p.m. Friday at Bangor for the Class B girls’ basketball title.

”She isn’t that flashy, outspoken person on or off the floor, so she’s not someone who’s necessarily going to always get the recognition,” Nokomis Coach Kori Dionne said. ”But what she does on the floor, in terms of her defense, it seems like she’s always coming up with a big block or a big rebound.

”Or she’s coming up with a key drive to the basket, which may not be her 16th or 17th point of the game, but it’s the little things like that, that a lot of times go unnoticed, that she’s done for us all year long.”

Batchelder was a first-team all-Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B selection, and was second in the league in 3-pointers. She would be one of the top scoring options on a lot of teams and scored 20 points (including five 3s) in a January victory against Oak Hill.

Yet she took only four shots in the East quarterfinal against Medomak Valley and five in a semifinal win over Presque Isle.

”There have been times where we’ve needed her to step up and she has,” Dionne said. ”In the Presque Isle game, she had some open shots that she wasn’t taking, but she knew we had the size advantage underneath. She was looking for Danielle (Watson) and Marissa (Shaw) to get open underneath.”

Dionne said a big reason for Nokomis’ success this season after winning only seven games in Eastern Class A last winter is Batchelder always brought her ”A” game as a senior.

It was that kind of attitude that led Dionne to tell Batchelder she wanted her to be a leader this season. Batchelder’s response was, ”You know, coach, I really don’t want any part of that.”

”What she didn’t want any part of is, she didn’t want any part of being a vocal leader,” Dionne said. ”I said, ‘Well, what you have to understand, Kara, is regardless of whether you want it or not, these girls are going to look up to you. You can lead by example and you can lead by what you do on the floor.’ ”

Batchelder is also a versatile, top-notch defender. At 5-foot-9, she can shut down opposing guards or help inside, as she did in the regional final against Megan Phelps of Mt. Desert Island.

Next season, Batchelder plans to play at Johnson & Wales University, where she’ll study baking and pastry.

”When I was younger, I did a lot of cooking with my grandmother,” Batchelder said. ”That’s what I’ve always been into. We do team dinners at my house, and I usually cook pretty much everything.”


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