AUGUSTA — A central Maine girls basketball showdown will take place Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center, as No. 2 Skowhegan meets No. 3 Nokomis in the Class A North semifinals.

Nokomis used some hot-handed shooting from Chelsea Crockett and Sidney Moore to move past No. 6 Camden Hills 55-41 on Friday. Skowhegan — down by eight at halftime to No. 11 Oceanside — scored 21 points in the third quarter to take the lead in an eventual 50-41 victory.

The Indians and Warriors met once during the regular season, on Jan. 12 in Skowhegan. Nokomis walked away with a 41-34 victory. The strategy to beat the Indians, as told by Warriors head coach Michelle Paradis, was to slow the game down.

“Skowhegan is totally an up-and-down (the floor) team,” Paradis said. “So when we went there, we were super deliberate. I mean deliberate about walking the ball (offensively) down the floor. Every time we went up the floor, and using about a minute, minute and a half, every possession. There was not a possession that lasted under 30 seconds.”

Olivia Brown led the offensive attack for Nokomis that day, scoring 15 points. Gabrielle Lord was a force on the boards, grabbing 15 rebounds.

“Nokomis is definitely a tough team. We haven’t necessarily won against them in a while,” said Skowhegan forward Annie Cooke, who led her team Friday with 13 points and 10 rebounds. “I think (Friday’s win) will give us confidence, knowing we can do it and we don’t need to be scared that we can’t.”

The teams are no strangers to each other outside the winter sports season. Crockett — who scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Friday’s win over Camden Hills — said Nokomis played Skowhegan during summer league.

“Skowhegan is a really good team, we saw them a lot this summer, actually we played summer ball against them every week,” Crockett said. “We knew their strengths, and we knew they were missing some girls over the summer. But we focused on their individual strengths and individual play, and tried to attack that.”

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Struggling to find a rhythm throughout the first half, the Indians could do no wrong in the second. They were 10-of-16 from the field in the second half — 8-of-11 in the third quarter alone — while limiting Oceanside to only 13 points in the last two quarters. At a time when fatigue normally sets in, Skowhegan was at its sharpest, hitting four 3-pointers in the second half and notching seven steals.

It wasn’t a coincidence.

“They get after it. They work hard, and I work the living heck out of them all season,” coach Mike LeBlanc said. “We do a lot of conditioning. And it showed. I only played seven girls.”

Despite the shortened bench, Skowhegan flourished in turning a 28-20 halftime deficit into a nine-point win. The Indians’ stamina paid off, even if their coach acknowledged he wouldn’t have shared their endurance had the score remained close.

“They like to keep things interesting for me,” LeBlanc said. “We joke about that. All of them were, (Thursday) night at the boys game, with the double overtime. I reminded them that I’d have a coronary if they did that to me.”

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At press time, it was undetermined whether Hampden would face Gardiner or Messalonskee in the Class A North semifinals.

Coach Tim Scott said his Broncos will have their hands full with either one.

“If we have to face Messalonskee, it’s going to be a challenge. They’re 18-0 for a reason. They didn’t have too many close games,” he said. “You’ve got to stay on (Sophie) Holmes, you can’t give them space. There’s just a lot you have to do.

“If it’s Gardiner, it’s a pretty good matchup. The (Lauren) Chadwick girl, the (Mary) Toman girl, they can take it to you any night. Whoever we get, it’s going to be a challenge.”

Hampden punched its semifinal ticket by beating Lawrence, 46-39, behind 20 points from Bailey Donovan. The Bulldogs had no one to match up with Donovan, but that will change in the semis as Gardiner brings the 5-foot-10 Toman and Messalonskee has 6-foot-1 Gabrielle Wener.

“It’ll be a challenge, whoever we get,” Scott said. “We’ll see who it is, and we’ll just enjoy tonight right now.”

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