READFIELD — The style points may or may not come later in the season. Right now, though, all that matters to Maranacook is that it is winning.

The Black Bears got by on guile and poise against Nokomis Tuesday night, holding the Warriors scoreless in the final two minutes and draining some key free throws to pull out a 41-34 victory.

“We keep talking about the fact that we’re winning ugly,” Maranacook coach Jeannine Paradis said. “So if we can manage that when we start getting into more of our season, we’ll start cleaning that up a little bit and it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch us. It already is a lot of fun to watch us.”

Elizabeth D’Angelo led all scorers with 13 points to go with seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks for the Black Bears (4-0). Christine Miller added nine points five rebounds, four assists and four steals, while Catherine Sanborn chipped in with nine points and five steals before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.

Mikayla Charters paced the Warriors (1-3) with eight points and seven rebounds. Sidney Moore chipped in with eight points and three steals.

Charters’ putback pulled Nokomis within one at 35-34 with a little over two minutes left, but the Warriors went ice cold from the field after that. Sarah Clough hit a pair of free throws with 1:49 to go then, after Nokomis missed two free throws, sank two more from the charity stripe with 32. 6 seconds left to make it 39-34. After Nokomis missed a pair of 3-point attempts, D’Angelo added two more free throws to clinch it.

“We’ve been fortunate that in our fourth quarter(s) we’ve been shooting a lot better from the line than we have been the rest of the game,” Paradis said. “Hopefully, we can change that so it’s better throughout. But when it counts the most we’ve been hitting them.”

Both sides played sloppily to start the game, although the full court pressure each team unveiled may have had something to do with the 18 turnovers in the first quarter.

Nokomis took its only lead at 10-9 early in the second quarter as Olivia Brown found Hannah Meservey for an easy bucket. D’Angelo put the Black Bears back in front to stay with a hoop that kicked off an 8-0 run with 5:39 left. D’Angelo capped the run with a layup off a Sanborn steal for a 17-10 lead.

“I think we were just looking for each other inside the paint and outside,” D’Angelo said. “We had a little trouble moving around at first but I think we worked that out. We were getting up the floor pretty well.”

“We ended up throwing three different presses out there and changed it up a little bit,” Jeannine Paradis said. “I’m hoping to keep adding some more once we get into better shape and just keeping teams on their toes.”

The Warriors used a combination of zone and man-to-man defense to contain Miller. They limited the reigning KVAC Player of the Year to two points in the first half, a big reason why they trailed by only five at intermission.

“Mikayla did a phenomenal job,” Nokomis coach Michelle Paradis said. “Miller’s a great player and she’s going to score her points. But Mikayla’s job was just to contain and she did such a good job containing her, and her teammates did a great job talking to her and helping.”

Both teams got into a better offensive rhythm in the third quarter.

Clough hit a turnaround in the paint and then went strong to the bucket for a three-point play. Kristen Hall’s jumper midway through the period gave Maranacook its largest lead at 26-18.

But a 3-pointer by Moore and a Brown layup off a Moore steal helped the Warriors close to within five heading into the fourth quarter.

“We have to remind ourselves, we’re so young,” Michelle Paradis said. “We have one senior on our team. And then it’s sophomores and freshmen that play, and the sophomores that play didn’t see minutes last year because I was so senior-heavy. The freshmen are adjusting to the speed of the game from junior high and being as physical as I need them to be is a work in progress.”

Nokomis started the fourth with a runner by Charters and a jumper by Chelsea Crockett to make it 30-29. Miller answered immediately with a 3-pointer to keep the Warriors from challenging the lead again until Sanborn drew her fifth foul and Brown made one of two from the free throw line to make it 33-32.

D’Angelo followed with a jumper that turned out to be the Black Bears’ last field goal of the game with 3:22 to go.

“I definitely think we can still improve,” D’Angelo said. “We’re still a little unconditioned, so we’ve got to run a little bit more. But there’s definitely room for improvement and I see us doing a lot better later in the season. But, yeah, a win’s a win. As long as they keep happening.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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