READFIELD – A couple of changes in defense and a hot hand from freshman Maya Cooney helped turned a lackluster first half in Nokomis’ favor Thursday night at the Maranacook gym.

That combination led the Warriors to a 47-37 win over Gardiner, which was hosting the game at Maranacook due to repairs to their gym floor. Nokomis is 8-6 in Class A North play while Gardiner falls to 6-7.

“It was huge for us,” Nokomis coach Michelle Paradis said of the victory. “A because it was a road win and B it was in a gym we haven’t come to play in for a very long time.”

The Warriors trailed 21-16 at the half then switched from a man-to-man defense to a 3-2 zone. Later in the second half, they went to a diamond and one with Hanna Meservey guarding Gardiner junior Aimee Adams.

“I thought we did a great job in the first half, getting Aimee the ball, getting her involved,” Gardiner coach Mike Gray said. “Then they switched it. They did a great job of taking her away.”

Adams finished with a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds but was held to seven points in the second half and went scoreless in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors, meanwhile heated up. Senior point guard Chelsea Crockett (10 points) broke free for a couple of back-door layups and Cooney got hot late o the quarter. Her layup tied the game at 26 then she closed the quarter with a pair of three-pointers to give the Warriors a 34-30 lead at the break.

“She’s pretty good, yeah,” Crockett said. “She plays hard the whole game.”

Leslie Stevens hit a 3 for the Tigers to open the fourth quarter, but the Warriors ran off 12 straight to take a 46-33 lead. Maci Reali (16 points) made a layup and baseline jumper in the run while Crockett nailed two free throws a bucket form the baseline.

“She’s an all-around player,” Paradis said of Crockett. “We need her leadership on the floor, we need her experience on the floor, She calms people down when we get all helter skelter.”

The Tigers never recovered from the run which carried deep into the final quarter.

“We played a great first half,” Gray said. “We kind of ran out of gas in the second half. They made a few plays, they beat us down the floor a few times.”

The Tigers controlled most of the first half as they pounded the ball inside to Adams who scored all her points in the paint of from the foul line. Mikayla Bourassa (nine points) hit a layup to close the half and give the Tigers a five-point lead.”

“It was a big win,” Crockett said. “All of our wins are big wins because very team is competitive in this league.”

The Warriors finish with three of their final four games at home, including point-worthy games against Lawrence and Messalonskee. Gardiner, which has dropped five straight, sits in the eighth and final tournament spot and plays Cony, Mt. Blue and Lawrence next week.

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