SKOWHEGAN — To beat the Skowhegan Area High School girls basketball team, Nokomis coach Michelle Paradis knew her team could not let Thursday night’s game turn into a track meet. The Warriors had to play their most disciplined basketball, playing tough half-court defense and deliberate offense.

“Our main goal was to slow every part of the basketball game,” Paradis said.

That’s exactly what the Warriors did, for 32 minutes. It led to a 41-34 win, knocking Skowhegan from the ranks of the unbeaten teams in the state. Both Nokomis and Skowhegan are now 8-1.

“We had to control the tempo, because if we let them get fastbreaks that’s how they win,” said Nokomis senior Olivia Brown, who scored a team-high 15 points.

Nokomis led 20-16 at the half and the Warriors extended their lead early in the third quarter. When Chelsea Crockett sank a 15-foot jumper just over three minutes into the second half, the Warriors reached 10, 26-16.

“We expected them to slow it down,” Skowhegan coach Mike LeBlanc said. “Our shots weren’t falling, but I credit their defense with a lot of that.”

Down 28-18, the Indians scored the final six points of the third quarter, all from the free throw line, and Annie Cooke’s bucket 35 seconds into the fourth quarter cut Nokomis’ lead to 28-26.

“I was nervous the whole game, but I had faith in us, that we’d stay composed,” Brown said.

Layups by Brown and Gabrielle Lord pushed the Nokomis lead back to seven points, 33-26, and the Warriors held off the Skowhegan rally.

Nokomis fought through early foul trouble, with starters Crockett and Sidney Moore each picking up two fouls in the first quarter, and Lord picking up her third late in the second.

“This is a huge win for us,” Paradis said.

Lord grabbed 14 rebounds for the Warriors. Cooke led Skowhegan with 16 points.

“We’ll be OK,” LeBlanc said. “I figured we’d lose sometime.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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