All season, Nokomis and Presque Isle have been the favorites to meet in the Eastern B girls basketball regional final. Although both finished the season undefeated, they still have tough matchups in tonight’s semifinals at the Bangor Auditorium.

No. 2 Nokomis (19-0), the two-time defending regional champion, will face No. 6 Old Town (14-6) at 7 p.m., followed by top-ranked Presque Isle (19-0) against No. 4 Gardiner (17-3) at 8:30.

Nokomis struggled at times during a 58-51 victory against Medomak Valley on Saturday morning, but coach Kori Dionne was confident even by the end of the game that the Warriors would be back on track for the semifinals. Nokomis has several different people who can score, led by Marissa Shaw and Anna Mackenzie inside, guards Kelsie and Kylie Richards, and forward Emilee Reynolds.

Top players for Old Town include 6-foot-3 center Courtney Treadwell and guard Ashley England. The Coyotes knocked off third-seeded Camden Hills, 49-47 in overtime Friday.

“I thought they played well,” Dionne said of that game. “They’ve got an inside and an outside game. They’ve got a couple bigs. They’ve got guards that support it. I think we need to come out and play our game.”

Camden Hills is the only common opponent for the two teams. Nokomis defeated the Windjammers 62-51 on the road in mid-January.

Gardiner and Presque Isle met in last year’s quarterfinals. Presque Isle led that game 20-3 after one quarter and 33-8 at halftime on the way to a 48-27 win.

Gardiner is in a much better position to play with the Wildcats this year. For one thing, the Tigers proved they can win at the Bangor Auditorium, beating Mt. Desert Island 63-38 in the quarterfinals. Gardiner has also played evenly against some of the top teams in Class B, losing by seven to Nokomis and by five to Leavitt.

“There’s no pressure on us,” Gardiner coach Mike Gray said. “We’re playing a 19-0 team that beat us last year in the playoffs. The only teams that have beaten us all year are Nokomis and Leavitt. Those are two very, very good teams, and we had chances to beat both of them.”

Gardiner got great contributions from nine players against MDI. Jenna Moore (17 points) and Paige Pilsbury (10) were the Tigers’ top scorers. Presque Isle also has depth, as it showed in the quarterfinals against John Bapst. The Wildcats led John Bapst 46-7 at halftime and cruised to an 86-31 win.

“That’s our potential, right there,” Presque Isle coach Jeff Hudson. “We got beat the last couple years (in Bangor) because we didn’t rebound well. We rebounded really well (against Bapst).”

The Wildcats run players in and out of the game and often do so without losing anything on the floor. While they haven’t played Nokomis, Leavitt, Camden Hills or Gardiner, they have also been far too strong for their competition. Presque Isle’s closest game in the first 19 was an 18-point win over John Bapst. The next closest was 26 points, against Old Town.

While that’s certainly impressive, Hudson also liked what he saw from Gardiner on Saturday.

“They’re very good,” Hudson said. “They’re very deep. They’re athletic. They were kind of underrated through the season, but I thought they were good, right from Day 1.”

MDI faced Presque Isle twice and Gardiner once, and Trojans coach Brent Barker thinks Gardiner could play with the Wildcats.

“I think, athletically, they can,” Barker said. “They’ve got to do a real good job of not turning the ball over. You can’t have your droughts where you give up three or four quick layups, and it goes from being a four-point game to a 12-point game just like that. But I think it should be a good game.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]


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