NEWPORT — Welcome back, Jaime Skinner.

The Nokomis senior scored two goals and assisted on another Saturday morning, as the No. 8 Warriors rolled past No. 9 John Bapst in a Class B North field hockey prelim. Nokomis advanced to meet No.1 Gardiner in the regional quarterfinals next week with its fifth win in the last six games.

Skinner, who opted not to play field hockey a year ago, imagined games like this one when she returned for one final go in her high school career.

“We’ve have good games and we’ve had bad games, but it was definitely fun to be a part of this in my senior year,” Skinner said. “I enjoyed all of it.”

Sophomore Lauryn Anderson and junior Lauren Burke also scored goals for Nokomis (9-6-0). John Bapst, which lost its only regular season meeting with the Warriors on Sept. 20, finished its campaign at 6-8-1.

Skinner broke a scoreless tie with the only goal of the first half, then proceeded to set up an insurance tally inside five minutes of the second half. She capped her big day with the fourth and final goal of the contest in the final minute.

“She’s very skilled,” Nokomis coach Taylor Lovley said of Skinner. “She took one year off and decided to come back for her senior year. We’re so lucky to have her. Her hand-eye coordination is there, so she can receive the ball and put it in the opposite corner which is what we need.”

Nokomis enjoyed an 11-0 shots advantage in the first half alone. Though it felt as if it was only a matter of time before the Warriors would break through the brick wall that was Crusaders goalie Bryanna Dube (14 saves), Skinner wasn’t so sure. As the minutes wore on, the forward thought more and more about seeing an opportunity to extend her final season slip away.

“I was so nervous,” Skinner said. “I was like, ‘We need to get some goals in. We’re done today if we don’t win this.’ I knew once we scored, we’d go up from there.”

Skinner had no need to worry.

Less than a minute after a John Bapst timeout to try and stem the surging Nokomis tide, Anderson set up Skinner for a 1-0 lead with 6:45 remaining until halftime.

That momentum carried over into the second half, when Skinner whirled and fed Anderson for an easy tap-in and a 2-0 lead just 4:30 after the intermission. It was more than enough to stop a John Bapst team that was held without a shot or a penalty corner for the duration.

“I thought we were dominating, but we kept hitting the ball at the goalie,” Lovley said. “We weren’t really finding the corners of the cage. We just kept shooting it at (Dube). One of the things we talked about during the timeout and at halftime was to aim for the corners and get some hard shots off.”

When a penalty corner wasn’t cleared deeply enough by the Crusaders, Burke made it 3-0 with 4:58 remaining in the contest.

It was fitting for Burke to finish with a goal after dominating the midfield alongside senior Maci Leali — providing both a first layer of defense and then a second wave on the attack.

“She’s always all over the field,” Lovley said of Burke. “She never gives up on the ball, and her skill is just there.”

Nokomis will try and extend its season against the heavily favored Tigers in the quarterfinals. Gardiner posted a 5-2 win over the Warriors in the only regular-season meeting between the two on Sept. 25.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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