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Mills girls basketball more than ready for defending Class M champs from Kolbe Cathedral. By Timothy W. Gaffney

POSTED March 09, 2011
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Amanda Adamski and the Lewis Mills Spartans took it to visiting Montville by a 50-29 score in Class M, second round action, Friday in Burlington.

BURLINGTON- To try and be the best, you have to beat the best.

That has never been more true than it will be on Thursday night, when the Lewis Mills Spartans girls basketball team resumes their run at a Class M State Championship title, against the last team to take home the trophy, Kolbe Cathedral.

The No. 1 ranked Spartans (24-0) will take on a Cougars team (No. 8, 17-5) that brings with them one of the best players in the state, Cherelle Moore, who is going on to play Division 1 college ball at the University of Hartford next winter.

“Moore averages about 24 points per game,” Mills coach Dennis Fowler said, “Obviously, its hard to stop a player like that. We’ll try to contain her and limit her damage.”

This has been one magnificent season for the Spartans and from the way they played against a tough Montville team in the second round, they are not looking to go home any time soon.

Staying home though, is a key component in this years state tournament format that gives the higher seeds one more home game than they had in previous seasons when this game would be played at a neutral site.

“We’re 12-0 at home, including 2-0 in the tournament,” Fowler said, “We play great at home.”

With six state championships in the past ten years, the Cougars would seem to be the favorite in this quarterfinal round against a Berkshire League school that plays more Class S schools than Class M.

Kolbe on the other hand, plays in the Southwest Colonial and has seen more Class L and LL teams than Class M.

The Cougars split with Pampering (LL) and Masuk (L) during the regular season and are currently riding a seven game winning streak.

Looks like a tough, tough match up for the Spartans on paper, right?

Another Class M school came into Mills last week and thought of the Berkshire League instead of the team they were about to face and paid the price.

Just ask the Montville Indians, who have handed in their uniforms and started making plans for spring sports thanks to the effort of a feisty and determined group from Burlington.

Even before the game had started on Friday, March 4, the Indians had given the Spartans even more motivation than they needed based on newspaper reports that didn’t show much respect for a team that was 23-0 coming in.

Fowler and his team took full advantage and turned from a mild mannered group to one that was willing to mix it up on the boards, the floor or anywhere else for that manner.

Nicole Bisson put on a shooting clinic against the Indians, connecting for six three pointers on her way to a 23-point night.

Amanda Adamski, even though she picked up two early fouls, was still able to score 16 points while grabbing seven rebounds while playing some of her most physical basketball of her career.

Teams at this level are playing hard and furious and the referees are for the most part, letting teams play so it’s going to be rough sledding around the boards but the Spartans have shown no signs of backing down.

“Kolbe is a state force and has been for years,” Fowler said, “We know that. We respect them. Yet. We are not afraid. We are 24-0 for a reason; we are a very good team.”

This figures to be a game played at breakneck speed, both teams love to press and try and score in transition.

The Cougars are a team that tries to disrupt their opponents offense with their athleticism and speed on defense; we have been watching just that kind of play out of the Spartans all year.

Mills has had success on defense all year, teams have averaged an miniscule 29 points per game in 24 outings.

Kolbe can score, they have averaged 58 points per game but have given up 47 per outing.

The Spartans have averaged 55 points per game this season in their 24 consecutive wins.

One thing is for certain, a Fowler led team is going to leave everything on the court.

“If we’re going to lose at home,” Fowler said, “Kolbe is going to have to beat us and play their best.”

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