Earl Anderson has plenty of years coaching and winning and even a state championship under his belt. But the Nokomis boys basketball coach has a new challenge this year.

It’s Anderson’s first season at the helm of the boys team after years of success coaching the girls, a stint that included the Class A state championship in 2001. And though he hasn’t coached since 2007, Anderson said he feels he’s ready to pick up where he left off.

“There will be some (adjustments), but, it’s probably not a great analogy, but (it’s like) riding a bike,” he said. “I’ve stayed close to coaches, stayed close to the game, and just walking in the first day of summer basketball at Nokomis, it didn’t feel any different to me at all.”

Anderson is one of a group of new coaches that dot the central Maine basketball scene, with at least eight boys and girls teams making changes this season. Some, like Anderson, are in new positions after coaching elsewhere.

“One of the things I missed was just the collegiality and the friendships with all the coaches,” Anderson said. “We share everything with each other, there aren’t any secrets. The group is about basketball, and it’s a great conference.”

Anderson is coming into a great situation. With hyped freshmen Cooper and Ace Flagg joining an already talented roster, he’ll have the talent to win big.

“Our whole motto this summer was ‘It’s all noise,'” Anderson said. “Outside of us, don’t pay attention to the noise. There’s going to be a lot of noise outside about expectations, about this and that. Just ignore it, because it really doesn’t matter.”

Waterville’s Joy Charles is also a familiar face in a new spot. Charles coached at Messalonskee, and then coached the women’s basketball team at Thomas College from 2008-09 to 2010-11. She said she wasn’t searching to get back in charge of a high school team, but when the chance came up, she wanted to get back in the game.

Nokomis girls basketball coach Chelsea Crockett, left, focuses on the action during a practice Monday in Newport. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“It’s nice to be back at the reins,” said Charles, one of two head coaching newcomers to Waterville basketball alongside new boys coach Sam Smith. “I have a great group of athletes, they’ve been really responsive to everything I’ve thrown at them so far. They have great chemistry, and they just come out every single day and basically grab at everything I’m throwing at them. It’s been great so far.”

Charles has only 10 players on the roster, but she said she likes the mix. Point guard Keira Gilman could be one of the top players in Class B of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, and with supporting players like Gabby Maines and Lawrence transfers Dakodah Aldrich and Denelle Eldridge, Charles said her expectations are high for a program that has made the last two Class B North finals.

“We’re going to run. I definitely have expectations of hard work and effort,” she said. “End line to end line the game is played, and I don’t like to necessarily give the girls any limitations. We give them challenges that are put forth. I have different offensive sets, I’m not going to sit in a zone all year.”

There aren’t any greener coaches than Chelsea Crockett, who will be leading the Nokomis girls team after graduating in 2018. Crockett was the top player on a Warriors team that went to the A North final in 2017, and then went on to play at the University of Maine at Farmington.

“Nokomis is a great school, and they always have great athletes. It was awesome to be able to have this opportunity to go back there,” Crockett said. “I’ve played basketball since I was really young, I’ve always wanted to be around basketball. It was always really fun for me, so being able to give other girls this chance to grow in the same way and find the same love of the game is definitely something that brought me into coaching.”

Crockett, who teaches math and science at the high school, was hired in July and said her team will be one that works on the defensive end of the court.

“Some of the keys to the season would definitely be the transition ball and stopping fast-break layups,” she said. “I think we’re going to be a great defensive team, and then the offense will come from that.”

New Hall-Dale girls basketball coach OJ Jaramillo looks on during a drill at Monday’s practice in Farmingdale. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

O.J. Jaramillo, who was an assistant for the Hall-Dale girls basketball team last year, gets his first head coaching job with the Bulldogs. Jaramillo, whose daughter KK Wills is a returning starter for the team, inherits a team that returns most starters from last year and that in March won the Class C and D championship at the Central Maine Tournament.

“We haven’t had many upperclassmen the last couple of years, so year to year we’ve been rolling the same kids,” he said.

Jaramillo, a former Hall-Dale player, said he’d like to speed up the Bulldogs’ pace.

“Seeing (Tom) Maines Sr. coach back in the day (at Morse), it was a brand of basketball that was very in-your-face, very fast-paced, a lot of full court man-to-man defense, a lot of pressure,” he said. “That’s kind of how I like to play basketball. … It’s a little bit of a culture change with the style and the aggressiveness on the defensive end.”

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