NEWPORT — The Nokomis girls came out Thursday night like a team looking to make a statement, and the motivation for that came six days earlier.
Last Friday at Oceanside, Nokomis suffered its first loss of the season. On Thursday night, the Warriors hosted Leavitt, which was playing without star guard Kristen Anderson.
The way Nokomis played in the first half, Anderson might not have been able to reverse the outcome. The Warriors led by as much as 30 and scored 46 points in the first half of their 71-50 victory.
“The key to our first half was hopefully coming back much stronger than the game that we had at Oceanside,” Nokomis coach Michelle Paradis said. “Our main goal was to not play ever again like we played there.”
Anderson, who will play at the University of New Hampshire next season, is out with a sprained ankle. The Hornets are also missing freshman Chantel Eells, a starter who is sidelined with a back injury.
Leavitt coach Tammy Anderson is clear she doesn’t want to use those absences as a crutch, but Nokomis (10-1) still outplayed and outhustled the Hornets in the first half. Nokomis led 15-0 after 4 1/2 minutes, and 21-6 at the end of the first quarter. The Warriors overwhelmed Leavitt with their full-court press, and seemed to grab every rebound. Anna MacKenzie, a 5-foot-10 junior, had 12 rebounds in the first half and finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds.
“It’s one of my favorite things to do,” MacKenzie said. “It’s just fun getting a rebound over someone. I’ve always liked it, since I was little.”
Taylor Shaw added 14 of her game-high 23 points in the first half, and Nokomis led 46-18 at halftime. Leavitt had 17 turnovers in the first half, and Nokomis had a 24-7 edge in rebounds.
After a talking to from Coach Anderson in the locker room, the Hornets (10-2) played their game in the second half. In all, Leavitt hit nine 3-pointers, including five by Jenna Cote, who scored 19 points.
“We knew we were coming in here without Kristen and without Chantel, so we just needed to get some good things out of it that will help us down the road,” Anderson said. “The second half, I think we saw some of our shooters not being afraid to shoot, they started taking care of the basketball a little bit better, and the intensity level was about 100 times better than the first half.”
Paradis said this was the second game for junior guard Kylie Richards, who missed the first half of the season with a knee injury. Richards scored eight points and added to the Warriors’ inside-outside game.
“We are more versatile with her back in the lineup,” Paradis said. “That puts another guard into my perspective, and it just gives somebody else a breather, so we can have much fresher legs more often.”
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