Mills girls move on in Class M action with hard fought 40-29 win over New Fairfield.
BURLINGTON-The Lewis Mills girls basketball team knew better than to look at their opponents record as Class M State action got underway, Tuesday on their home court
The New Fairfield Rebels came into the game ranked #32 but played their regular season against a boat load of LL schools and played well in most.
Some say the first round state game is the toughest to get through and the Spartans will not dispute that after having to battle to come away with a 40-29 win and a second round berth.
Mills stays home on Friday and will take on #16 Montville, who took care of SMSA by a 55-43 score at home.
During a regular season that saw them challenged little, the visitors took it to the top ranked team in M in the opening quarter and for the first time all season, the Berkshire League champions were being tested and trailed by a 10-9 score after one.
The game moves a little faster at this level, passes need to be bit sharper and lay-ups just don’t seem to fall as easily as they did the last 22 games.
Mills missed four lay-ups in the first quarter alone, a point of comfort to head coach Dennis Fowler as he talked to his team between quarters.
“We make those lay-ups,” Fowler said, “We’re up by seven and feeling a lot better about ourselves.”
Senior point guard Nicole Bisson, ever the calming influence on the floor for Fowler, knew her team just had to settle down after a shaky first.
“We were a little nervous in the first,” Bisson said, “Once we found our rhythm and got ourselves settled, we were okay.”
During this remarkable run to 23-0, a few things have remained constant for the Spartans.
The seniors on this team will step up, the defense will create the offense and bench play will be key.
And oh yeah, Amanda Adamski will come up huge every single time her team needs her to.
“I have run out of ways to describe Amanda,” Fowler said after watching his star score a game high 19 points, “She is almost a reluctant scorer. We want her to take more shots but she is just so unselfish.”
As the second quarter got underway, junior Vicki Hernandez nailed a three pointer on her first attempt to give her team a lead they would never relinquish.
Two straight Adamski field goals would cap a 7-0 run that gave the home team some breathing room at 16-10.
With 3:40 to go in the half, Bisson would pick up her second foul and went to the bench.
Sophomore Hope Shevchuk took over at point and not only controlled the point, but hit a jumper late in the second to send her team to the break up 20-16.
“We didn’t lose a thing when Hope went in,” Fowler said, “She played huge for us a a critical time.”
After the break, it was senior time.
Adamski, Bisson and Katherine Bayne did to the Rebels what they had done to BL teams all year, they blitzed New Fairfield with a 14-6 quarter that featured everything that made this team so good all year.
Adamski, who just has a knack for finding the basket when her team needs her, started the run with a tough bucket underneath.
Bayne, who was scoreless in the first half, answered a Rebel basket by Tara Donovan with her first of two dagger three pointers to give the Spartans their biggest lead at 25-18 with just over five to play in the frame.
Another Adamski basket, off a nice assist from Alicia Forella, made it a nine point lead.
Donavan was trying her best to keep the visitors in the game and found the lane again for her second consecutive bucket.
Not wanting to feel left out, Bisson went on a blitz of her own over the next 15 seconds.
Off the made shot on the other end, Bisson turned on the afterburners on a coast to coast run that ended with a lay-up.
A steal at mid-court sent Bisson flying in for another easy basket that bulged the lead to 31-20, assured the number one seed another chance to shine on the big stage.
As usual, it was the Mills defense that fed the offense.
One defender, Kristen Van Gilst, stood out for her clamp down on All Southwest Conference standout, Shannon McCourt,
McCourt was held to six points, well below her season average.
So the dream season continues for Fowler and company, who have a one game at a time mentality going with the road hopefully not ending until Uncasville, home of the finals.