OAKLAND — Messalonskee started Tuesday with a dozen wins by an average of nearly 25 points, so the Eagles were looking forward to a young Nokomis team providing them the first test of a tough regular season stretch drive that also includes meetings with Gardiner, Bangor and Waterville.

Foul trouble and an early injury to junior Sidney Moore prevented the Warriors from pushing the Eagles to the limit, but Messalonskee did get a chance to show off its balance in a 52-39 win.

Sophie Holmes finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks and McKenna Brodeur added 18 points for the Eagles (13-2). Chelsea Crockett led the Warriors (9-5) with 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

After a slow start, Messalonskee started working inside-out with Brodeur in the paint and Holmes on the perimeter. The tandem really started clicking in the third quarter when they teamed up on a 14-2 Eagles run that put them in control.

“We slowed down and started talking to each other,” Brodeur said. “It was more competition than we’ve had. We’re usually a second-half team anyway.”

“They’re young and hungry and aggressive,” Messalonskee coach Keith Derosby said of Nokomis. “I wouldn’t say they’re unpredictable, but I think when a team comes at you that hard for that many minutes sometimes it gets you off-balance.”

Nokomis was knocked a little off-balance when Moore went out with what coach Michelle Paradis said appeared to be a case of whiplash early in the first half. To make matters worse, Crockett, who was doing a fine job setting up her teammates in Moore’s absence, went to the bench with her third foul midway through the second quarter.

“You can tell when we lose Chelsea and we lose Sid, we struggle offensively,” Paradis said.

That, and getting the ball inside to Brodeur, helped the Eagles turn what was an 11-10 deficit after the first period into an 18-13 lead. Brodeur scored their first eight points of the quarter, six from the foul line. Holmes followed with their last seven points of the half, including a very deep 3-pointer that made it 25-21 at halftime.

“I think we missed a lot of layups tonight, and that’s a credit to their physicality,” said Derosby, whose team shot 50 percent from the floor after starting 5-for-19. “When you have kids like McKenna inside and Sophie from the outside and (Taylor) Easler (four points, five rebounds, four steals) who just knows where to be and does all those little things so she can chip in, for us, when those things happen, our team does tend to feed off that energy.”

“Brodeur is going to get her points. Holmes is going to shoot and make threes. It’s just limiting it,” Paradis said. “When you have people in foul trouble, I don’t have a whole lot of people that can play that type of defense. They’re just no there yet.”

Gabby Lord (eight points, eight rebounds) pulled Nokomis within two early in the third quarter, but the Eagles closed the period out with nine of the next 11 points, capped by Brodeur’s inside hoop off an Ally Turner feed and a Holmes 3-pointer.

Holmes added another three-point play by putting back her own miss and drawing a foul to start the fourth. Turner went back inside to Brodeur for the hoop that opened the lead to 41-27.

Nokomis briefly threatened to make a game of it again with back-to-back 3-pointers from Maci Leali and Crockett that cut the margin to eight with 5:12 to go but hoops by Holmes and Turner and a layup by Easler off a deflected pass kept the deficit from seeing single digits again.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: #RAWmaterial33


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