Mills girls basketball; Berkshire League Champions. Beat Thomaston by a 53-31 score to go to 19-0.
THOMASTON- The cutting down of the nets can wait two days; have to have the right scissors.
After clinching the Berkshire League regular season with an impressive, clinic like 53-31 win over Thomaston, the team that held the crown until Monday night, the Lewis Mills girls basketball team decided not to cut down the nets of the Golden Bears.
“We have a special pair of scissors back in our locker room,” Spartans head coach Dennis Fowler said, “We put them there before the season started. On them is written February 16, at 8:35 p.m.”
That’s right, Fowler and his hard working group has had one goal all along; a perfect 20-0 season.
“We wanted to be the first team in Lewis Mills school history to go 20-0,” senior point guard Nicole Bisson said after the win, “We’re close but it’s not here yet.”
If the Spartans play like they did the first eight minutes on Monday, when they flew out to a 24-7 lead after a quarter, not only will the team meet that lofty goal set a long time ago, but they may be playing well into March.
The diverse weapons came out fast and furious against a Thomaston team that you just have to tip your cap to for sporting a 36-3 record in their last 39 league games.
Bisson started the roll by draining a three ball; the senior guard is one of the leaders within this tight knit unit.
Kristen Van Gilst, Alicia Forella and Bisson again would also connect on long balls in the frame.
The defensive pressure Mills brings sometimes makes it hard for fans to breath, forget the guards trying to get the ball threw the maze of height and arms.
Bob McMahon, head coach of the Bears, has done a remarkable job of getting as much as he can out of a team that lost their entire starting five from a year ago.
That usually spells a rebuilding year or two but with a work ethic opposing coaches marvel at, Thomaston has been known as the hardest working team in the league.
Now beaten up by injuries to two key starters (Abby Hurlbert and Laura Mills), the Bears just didn’t have enough weapons to challenge the Spartans.
“The scary thing is,” McMahon said after the game, “The might just be better then I thought. They are well coached and prepared. They are a step ahead of everybody in the league.”
Maggie Eberhardt, who as a sophomore has already established herself as a player to watch over the next two years scored nine points for the night, as did Hannah Martin, another promising player.
Adamski, who loves it when her teammates are connecting from the outside, is still the force teams need to prepare for.
Since her arrival on the scene four years ago, the senior post player can score at will when she has position and is even working on her ball handling skills.
“A game like this allows me to work on things I’m not that comfortable with,” Adamski (20 points) said, “Like bringing the ball up or shooting from the outside.”
Anytime a team is trying to run the table, the pressure inevitably build up; these are high school kids.
To counter that pressure, Fowler has had to take his foot off the throttle in practice at times this year, something he learned from his brother Mark, head coach of the Terryville boys, who went 20-0 a year ago.
“I talked to my brother and he told me I had to back off a little at times,” Fowler said, “You can’t push the kids each and every practice.”
On Monday, the Spartans came in nervous but, as Adamski put it, “A good nervous.”
Even though most of their games have been over early, a tight game against Northwestern on February 8 (a 33-24 win, the only non double digit win this season) might just have been good for Mills.
“They scared us,” Fowler said.
Since the have started playing as a unit, the Spartans have had their share of close games during the past two years.
“We had some during our sophomore and juniors years,” Adamski said, “We can play in close games.”
The quest for perfection and the breaking out of the cutting utensils is just 48 hours away.
The only thing standing in their way is a win over the Housatonic Mountaineers on Wednesday night in what promises to be a packed house in Burlington.