AUGUSTA — Michelle Paradis, the Nokomis Regional High School girls basketball coach, knew her team couldn’t let Skowhegan get comfortable in the paint during a Class A North semifinal game Wednesday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center.

Layups? No way. Shoot from the perimeter? Have at it.

“If you can drain shots and shoot a higher percentage than I can, then you deserve to beat us. I’m all about that,” Paradis said. “It was more of, close out because they’re penetrate and dish, or at least penetrate. We literally would leave a step or two to make them make the (perimeter) shot than allow them to penetrate and get to the middle.”

With a defense that prevented Skowhegan from consistently finding high percentage shots, the Warriors held the Indians to 23 percent from the field (9 for 40). The result was a 45-32 victory for Nokomis, and the Warriors’ first trip to the Class A regional final in 14 years.

No. 3 Nokomis (16-4) will face top-seed and undefeated Messalonskee (20-0) in the regional final Friday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center. No. 2 Skowhegan ends the season at 15-5.

Nokomis never trailed and took control of the game with a 6-0 run to open the third quarter, pushing the lead to 29-18. Throughout the game, senior guard Sidney Moore paced the Warriors’ offense. Moore scored a game-high 20 points, including four 3-pointers.

“We got a feel for the rims here (in the quarterfinals), and I knew my teammates were behind me, so it’s easy for me to feel confident,” Moore said.

Skowhegan, on the other hand, could never find offensive rhythm, with the Warriors focused on choking off all lanes to the paint.

“They executed their game plan well. I’m not going to say we didn’t come ready to play. I think we were just a little bit overwhelmed. That comes from (Nokomis) working very hard and doing what they do. They’re a little more experienced than us,” Skowhegan coach Mike LeBlanc said. “They had foul trouble, and we needed to try to get the ball in the post, and we didn’t do a very good job of that.”

Skowhegan did have success with its own defensive pressure, forcing Nokomis into 16 turnovers.

“It (defensive pressure) did when we went to Skowhegan, too. They’re super athletic and super aggressive. That’s what they do. They make you uncomfortable when you have the ball,” Paradis said.

Olivia Brown added 10 points for the Warriors. Annie Cooke led the Indians with 12 points.

“I’m very proud of their effort. They exceeded my expectations, and that’s all you can ask as a coach,” LeBlanc said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM