FARMINGTON — Clutch free throw shooting in the fourth quarter carried Nokomis to a 46-45 Class A North girls’ basketball victory over Mt. Blue on opening night Friday.

Nokomis did not score a basket in the fourth quarter but did convert 11-of-14 from the free throw line to secure the victory.

“A win in a close game like this is great for us to gain experience,” Nokomis coach Michelle Paradis said. “We were panicking for no reason on our shots, but what a great way to open the season.”

Nokomis never trailed in a hectic fourth quarter that saw the Warriors take an early 37-32 lead, their largest of the second half. Playing a half-court trap, along with a tough man-to-man defense, Mt. Blue whittled away at the lead until Emilee Eustis (11 points) corralled an offensive rebound and putback to pull the Cougars to within 41-40 with 47 seconds left in the game.

A single free throw by Warrior Austin Taylor at 35.8 pushed the lead to 42-40. Taylor missed her second shot but teammate Gabby Lord was fouled in the rebounding action. With Nokomis in the bonus situation, Lord converted both free throws for a 44-40 lead.

Following a loose ball scramble under the Mt. Blue basket, the Cougars retained possession of the ball with 19.2 seconds left. On the inbounds pass, Eryn Doiron drained a long three-pointer, her only basket of the game, to narrow the margin to 44-43.

Fouling to get the ball back, the Cougars sent Sidney Moore (game high 16 points) to the free throw line for the Warriors. Moore hit both shots for a 46-43 lead with 11.3 seconds remaining.

Mt. Blue worked the ball into the front court, calling a time out in front of their bench. The Cougars got a final look, from three-point range but the ball clanked off the rim. Eustis caught the rebound, laying the ball in the basket for the final 46-45 score.

“You have to give credit to Nokomis,” Mt. Blue coach Gavin Kane said. “They came in here and played hard. We fought and battled the entire game.”

Nokomis moved to Class A this season following the Maine Principals’ Association restructuring of high school basketball into five classes. Nokomis played in Class B last year.

“This is a really new experience for us,” Paradis said. “We knew nothing about anybody in Class A coming into this game. We have a lot of scouting and work to do.”

The first three quarters of the game all ended with buzzer-beating shots. Mt. Blue’s Mariel Damon hit a jumper for the left corner, to give the Cougars a 12-10 lead after one quarter. Nokomis’ Taylor went endline-to-endline to score an uncontested layup for a 22-20 advantage at halftime.

Taylor added a second buzzer beater to end the third quarter, giving the Warriors a 35-32 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

Caitlin Kane scored a team high 13 points for Mt. Blue with teammate Mackenzie Harris grabbing 12 rebounds. Olivia Brown had a solid game at the off guard position scoring 11 points for Nokomis.

Mt. Blue finished the game hitting 15-of-29 free throws, while Nokomis made 17-of-26 from the line.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.