The Nokomis of Newport boys basketball team will get a boost Friday when junior guard Josh Smestad returns to action as the 4-2 Warriors host 3-2 Gardiner in a 6:30 p.m. start.
Smestad suffered a bad ankle sprain early in the fourth quarter of Nokomis’s 74-54 win at Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield on Dec. 15. While X-rays determined there was no break, he spent several days on crutches and then began working with Nokomis athletic trainer Bob Krieder to get the ankle back into playing condition.
Smestad has practiced with no limitations this week, according to Nokomis head coach Ryan Martin.
Smestad was averaging 13 points and five assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the field before his injury.
The Class A North Warriors played just three games during his absence, going 1-2 with a win over Waterville and losses to Medomak Valley of Waldoboro and Brewer.
“When he was out we did a great job of competing,” said Martin, “but it was very difficult to fill that void offensively and defensively. Josh is also a vocal and emotional leader for us, so that part of the game was impacted for us as well.”
Friday’s clash with Gardiner will mark the first of five games in 11 days for Nokomis, which is at Belfast next Tuesday, home against Skowhegan on Jan. 12, at Hampden Academy on the 14th and home against MCI on the 16th.
“His return to the lineup comes at the right time as we are headed into an important part of our schedule,” said Martin. “The silver lining of his injury was that other guys on the team played more minutes, competed, and we were able to develop more depth during this stretch.”
Easton’s Flewelling tops 1,000
Jacob Flewelling’s presence on the Easton High School boys basketball team has coincided with one of the more successful periods in the program’s history.
The senior forward is a four-year varsity veteran for the Bears, who have gone 55-8 during the regular season and 61-11 overall since the start of the 2013-2014 season. That time span has been highlighted by an undefeated regular season during Flewelling’s freshman year and a Class D North championship last winter, marking Easton’s first regional title in boys basketball since 1980.
Plenty of players have contributed to that success, along with the efforts of athletic administrator Steve Shaw in hiring promising young coaches like Dillon Kingsbury and current coach Manny Martinez to lead the way.
Flewelling has been among those consistent contributors, earning Bangor Daily News Class D all-tournament recognition last winter and all-tourney honorable mention status in 2015. On Tuesday night he achieved an even more significant individual honor by reaching 1,000 career points during Easton’s 57-48 overtime loss to Central Aroostook of Mars Hill.
The second-year team captain became the second Easton player in as many years to reach the milestone, following Logan Halvorson last winter.
Other members of Easton’s 1,000-point club are Nina Alexander, Barry Tapley, Tyler Perry, Russ LaPointe, Tom Osgood, Brent Bradley, Craig Smith, Jeremy Brock, Brad Trask and Reid Clark.
Flewelling was poised to add to his total Thursday evening when Easton, 6-3 and ranked fourth in Class D North, traveled to Dyer Brook to face top-ranked and undefeated Southern Aroostook in a rematch of last year’s regional final won by the Bears.
This marked the second meeting between Easton and Southern Aroostook in less than two weeks, with the Warriors scoring an 88-60 win at the Barn in Easton on Dec. 23.