Nokomis’ Madden White (35) takes the ball to the basket as Messalonskee’s Merrick Smith (11) watches during the Class A North boys basketball quarterfinals Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

AUGUSTA — The fans who journeyed to the Augusta Civic Center on Saturday for the latest episode of the Cooper and Ace Flagg Show saw something a little different.

They got their highlights — the Flagg twins, playing a day after receiving offers from the University of Maine as freshmen, never disappoint. But the spark for the Nokomis boys basketball team’s 57-29 victory over Messalonskee came from Madden White, who scored a game-high 23 points and provided a reminder for anyone needing it that, while the Flaggs may be the Warriors’ centerpiece, the junior guard might just be the X-factor.

“It’s a great feeling,” White said of his performance. “Coming out excited, (being) pumped about the game and seeing all the people, it’s a great feeling.”

White emerged as a leader for the Warriors while going through some lean years. Nokomis went only 1-17 his freshman year, and there was no state tournament to play for last season. Now, in the middle of a team with real state championship potential, White said he is enjoying the ride.

“Last year was tough. It was pretty much me and one other guy that were main scorers,” said White, who averaged 10.3 points per game this season. “Now we’ve got a starting five, they can all score. We don’t need to pressure anyone to score.”

There’s a flip side to the success. Nokomis’ winning has been spearheaded by the arrival of the Flagg freshmen, who have been the subject of fan and media attention since middle school and who have remained the center of a blinding spotlight in high school. There’s often only so much attention that can go around, and it would be understandable for the junior who was on the KVAC all-rookie team as a freshman and the top returning scorer going into this season to feel overshadowed.


White, however, is happy with how things are.

“A lot of people can say I’m overlooked. But (Cooper and Ace) bring a lot towards me,” he said. “Even if I’m overlooked, it’s not anything for me. … We’ve all bought in. We know what our role is, we know how to play. We’re really ready for this.”

Even if the people casually following Nokomis throughout the season don’t know what he can do, his teammates certainly do.

“If people overlook Madden, they’re stupid,” Ace Flagg said. “He’s a great player. He gets to the rim, he’s a great passer, great basketball I.Q. He’s a great teammate.”

“He’s able to score, he can run the floor really well,” Cooper Flagg added. “Madden definitely brings some leadership and experience that we may lack as freshmen.”

Nokomis’ Madden White (35) goes in for the easy lay up against Messalonskee during the Class A North boys basketball quarterfinals Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

That leadership was on display Saturday. When the Warriors took the court, they did so in front of approximately 2,000 fans, a large crowd for an A North quarterfinal. Nokomis has seen plenty of large crowds this season, but those were in high school gyms. This was the Civic Center, in the tournament, in the prime-time slot.


It was another big crowd. But as coach Earl Anderson said, it was different.

“I don’t know where people get the idea that we are a veteran, experienced group,” he said. “Four of our five starters never played a varsity minute until this season. … None of these players have ever played in a tournament game, ever. Not even a prelim game.”

The one player who had played those varsity minutes made sure the team would be comfortable in its new environment. White knocked down a 3-pointer on the first shot of the game, and then two possessions later finished in transition for a 7-0 lead. He scored seven of Nokomis’ first 11 points, 10 of its 18 in the first quarter, and 16 of its 33 by halftime.

“We’re all ready to go,” White said. “I knew what I had to do.”

In their tournament debut, the Warriors never trailed. White helped make sure of it.

“He does a lot of things,” Anderson said. “He plays great defense, he can hurt you in a lot of different ways offensively. He’s very explosive to the rim, but also can shoot it. He’s a very good all-around player.”


For good measure, White got in on the highlight reel too. He grazed the rim on a transition finish in the second quarter but had an emphatic dunk in the fourth, drawig the same reaction from the Nokomis fans the Flaggs often get.

“I didn’t really get up there (on the first),” he said. “That one, I knew I needed to turn a dunk in. I got it.”

After the game, a Nokomis basketball Twitter account summed up the storyline of the night.

“Have you guys heard about this Madden White kid from Nokomis?” the tweet read.

If they hadn’t, they have now.

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