In Nokomis’ boys basketball season opener, Madden White led a second-half charge to escape Bangor with a 39-26 victory on Tuesday night.
White, a senior and one of five returners from the Warriors’ Class A state championship team a season ago, carried the offense through the first quarter with six of the team’s 12 points.
Nokomis as a team didn’t score well in the first half, missing every three-pointer it took while also turning the ball over. The Warriors never made a shot from beyond the arc on Tuesday night.
“I thought our defensive effort was pretty good,” Bangor coach Brad Libby said. “We set a goal before every game to keep the team under 50 points and we did that. We played solid defense and we lost guys a couple times to dribble penetration but all in all I was really pleased with how we played.”
The Rams have just two players, Wyatt Stevens and Connor Boone, who played varsity minutes a season ago.
Taking care of the ball was a focus for the Rams coming off a disappointing 67-42 loss to Cheverus on Friday.
“The difference from Cheverus was taking care of the basketball,” Libby said. “At Cheverus we had 34 turnovers and tonight we had 20. We have to continue to work on ball security as well as attacking the basket.”
Bangor’s Matt Holmes scored four of his 11 points on the night in the first half, but Nokomis stole the ball five times in just the first quarter alone.
At the half, Nokomis was up just 16-11 on Bangor.
White took control late in the third quarter with back-to-back buckets, one at the hoop and the next a smooth pull-up jumper from about 12 feet to give Nokomis a 26-15 lead with 90 seconds to play in the third. The senior started to take control in the second half, scoring 11 of his 19 points in the final two frames.
On the final play of the third quarter, White got around a Bangor double team at the top of the three-point line, cut into the lane and slithered around two more defenders on his way to a layup at the rim at the buzzer that gave Nokomis a 28-17 lead.
“[In the second half] we took care of the ball better,” Nokomis coach Earl Anderson said. “They get after you defensively. You have to handle their physicality. We were getting bumped off the ball, too loose on the dribble and not tight in traffic. We had a lot of physical mistakes by not handling the physicality. We were doing the right thing but didn’t get results because we couldn’t handle the ball.”
Holmes hit a 3-pointer for Bangor, one of two on the night for the Rams, which pulled Bangor within 32-26 with 2:45 to play.
But, with 92 seconds left, White drove to the hoop again, dunking the ball while also getting fouled. The senior made the free throw to give the Warriors a 37-26 lead.
White often scored off of perfect passes from Nokomis’ only other senior, Grady Hartsgrove.
“In the second half he played like a senior leader,” Anderson said of White. “Him and Grady are our senior captains and played like senior captains. Those two played really, really well in the second half.”
Hartsgrove made his presence known on the boards as well, pulling in seven while scoring four points.
Nokomis will prepare for a road game at Brewer on Friday, while Bangor will travel to Deering on Friday.