WINSLOW — When Winslow girls basketball coach Lindsey Withee was a player at Nokomis in 2003, she helped the Warriors beat a Paul True-coached Skowhegan team in the Class A East semifinals. On Friday night, Withee will try to beat a True-coached squad again.

Withee’s Black Raiders face True and Lake Region in the Class B girls basketball state championship game at 7:05 p.m., Friday at Bangor’s Cross Center. For Lake Region, this is the seventh appearance in the state final since 2006, and first for the Lakers (16-5) since winning the Class B title in 2014. Winslow (17-5) is making its first state game appearance since winning the Class B crown in 2005.

“This Winslow team certainly has adopted (Withee’s) personality,” True said.

By that, True referred to the Black Raiders’ style of play, which focuses on tenacious defense. The same can be said of the Lakers. In their respective regional tournaments, neither Winslow nor Lake Region allowed more than 39 points in a game. In a 43-39 overtime win over Presque Isle in the Class B North final, Winslow held the Wildcats to just three points over the game’s final 12 minutes, including a scoreless fourth quarter.

Winslow emerged from the North tournament as the No. 6 seed, while Lake Region was the No. 4 seed in the South.

“Does anybody have the advantage? I don’t think there’s any advantage. There’s a reason why the six and four seeds are here. Grit and perseverance, I think,” Withee said. “Just work hard for 32 minutes.”

Added Winslow senior Haley Ward: “They’re pretty much like us. Really, really good defense. Super patient on offense. A really athletic team, similar to us. I’m excited. It’s going to be a great matchup.”

The Black Raiders allowed 34 points per game in their run through the North tournament, and saved their best effort for the final against Presque Isle. There, Winslow held Wildcats standout and Miss Maine Basketball finalist Emily Wheaton to just 16 points, after Wheaton had scored a combined 71 points in her first two tourney games.

“The whole thing is defense. Shutting down Emily Wheaton, holding her to 16 points with what she’s been averaging, is absolutely huge. I also think team chemistry is huge with us. If you don’t have team chemistry, you don’t have a team,” Ward said.

Ward pointed to her team’s positive outlook despite being down nine points to Presque Isle in the third quarter of the regional final.

“When we were down nine points in that Northern Maine game, we could’ve folded. But we had people on the bench, we had our coaches, we had Coach Withee, pumping us up. We know we can do this,” Ward said.

The Black Raiders face another strong scorer in Lake Region’s Chandler True, who averaged 14.3 points per game in the Class B South tournament and won the Mike DiRenzo Award as the tournament’s most outstanding player.

“She’s kind of on a mission,” Withee said of True.

For the Lakers, the break between the end of the regular season and the tournament was an unexpected godsend, Coach True said. Normally, True said, he’s not a fan of having 10 days off between the end of the regular season and the playoffs.

“For us, it was a turning point,” True said. “We had 10 good days of practice. That is tough to string together during the year.”

Another scoring threat for Lake Region is Lauren Jakobs in the post. Jakobs scored 14 points in the Lakers’ quarterfinal win over Oak Hill.

“We’re not real big, so we try to rely on a little bit of athleticism, and do the best we can defensively,” True said.

When it comes to stopping Winslow, there’s not one player who stands out. While Ward and Maeghan Bernard led the Black Raiders in scoring throughout the regional tournament, other players stepped up, and that could help Winslow against a defense that allowed just 31 points per game in the regionals.

“Offensively, I wouldn’t want to scout against us. I’m not trying to brag, but we have nine, 10 players that can score any given night,” Withee said. “You look at our MDI game (Winslow’s regional quarterfinal win over Mt. Desert Island), Broghan Gagnon had eight points. She came off the bench and scored big for us that game. Paige Trask, one game is scoreless, then hit three threes right off the bat against Presque Isle.”

True agrees with Withee’s assessment of the Black Raiders.

“I know they’re deep. They’ll have five kids on the floor that all dribble, pass, and shoot really well,” True said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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