Nokomis can beat you in a half-court game. It can beat you in transition. It can beat you down low or along the perimeter.

It seems, Medomak Valley girls basketball coach Randy Hooper says, Nokomis can beat you every way.

“You can’t take one aspect of the game away from them,” he said. “Some teams, you can take away the perimeter or take away the post. But they are just too well balanced. Hey, they aren’t 18-0 for no reason.”

Two-time defending Eastern B champ and second-seeded Nokomis (18-0) will meet No. 7 Medomak Valley (12-6) in a quarterfinal game Saturday in the Bangor Auditorium at 9 a.m.

The game is a rematch of last season’s Eastern B final, which Nokomis won 50-41.

No. 4 Gardiner (16-3), fresh off its 68-37 prelim victory over Foxcroft, will play No. 5 Mt. Desert Island (15-4) at 1:30 p.m.

Top-seeded Presque Isle (18-0) will play No. 9 John Bapst (10-9) at 4:30. The other quarterfinal matchup is tonight, when No. 6 Old Town (13-6) faces No. 3 Camden Hills (15-3) at 8 p.m.

The Tigers return to Bangor for the second consecutive season. Last year, they dropped a 48-27 decision to top-seeded Presque Isle in the quarterfinals.

Gardiner coach Mike Gray said the team is heading north with different expectations this time around.

“Last year, when we won the prelim, it was a huge celebration,” he said. “This year, it was business as usual. Last year was all about the experience. We know what to expect now.”

Jenna Moore averaged 10 points and 4.8 assists per game for the Tigers this season. Kate McAllister (7.5 ppg) and Kylee Granholm (7 ppg) also contributed offensively.

“Everything we do goes through (Moore),” Gray said. “She’s had a phenomenal winter.”

So, too, has MDI 5-foot-9 sophomore forward Hannah Shaw, who anchors the team’s offense.

“They have some quick guards, but they run everything through her,” Gray said. “We have a good idea of what they do and what to expect. It’s a pretty good matchup. If we play like we are capable of playing, it’ll be a great game.”

Gardiner and MDI, which don’t play in the regular season, are relative strangers to each other.

The same can’t be said for Nokomis and Medomak Valley.

The teams will meet in the tournament for the third straight season.

The Warriors beat the Panthers 46-32 in a 2009-10 quarterfinal game.

Nokomis led by 15 points heading into the fourth quarter of the regional final last season before Medomak Valley rallied to pull within two.

However, guard Alanna Vose fouled out and the Panthers couldn’t recover.

“Defensively, they looked like they were running some kind of junk defense, but it wasn’t any kind of junk defense I’ve ever seen before,” Nokomis coach Kori Dionne said of that game. “Whatever they were doing defensively, it worked for them.”

Vose, who averages about 14 points a game, leads a new-look Medomak Valley team again this year.

“We lost seven seniors,” Hooper said. “We returned just three players with varsity experience. For us to get back to Bangor is huge. We’re going into this with our eyes wide open. Last year, we wanted to go and win some games in Bangor, and we did. We’re not in the same position we were last year.”

The Warriors, who defeated the Panthers 66-33 in a Jan. 14 regular season game, are.

Sure, they lost a few key players — notably Danielle Watson and Julie Smith — but the Warriors are poised for another deep tournament run.

Led by guard Marissa Shaw, Nokomis features a deep squad that allowed more than 50 points in a game just twice this season.

“I don’t think this is a group that’s going to take anything for granted,” Dionne said.

Added Hooper: “Throughout the year we’ve done a good job of taking away the key players of the game. It’s tough with Nokomis because they have too many. But we’re going to come out and play hard Saturday. Right now, it’s 0-0.”

Staff writer Matt DiFilippo contributed to this report.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]


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