Bisson has the point well covered for top ranked Lewis Mills.
BURLINGTON-If we remember back to late fall when the Lewis Mills girls soccer team made that remarkable run all the way to the Class M State Championship game and lost in the final three seconds, we discover that some of the feelings of unfinished business have carried over onto basketball court this winter.
Nicole Bisson was a member of that tremendous team that swept through the regular season with an unblemished 16-0 mark and went 3-1 in the States.
Four members of that team have moved indoors to play for head coach Dennis Fowler and they have yet to lose an inside regular season game as of February 1, with a perfect 15-0 record.
Bisson is the point guard who has been on either the pitch or the hardwood since she was five or six years old.
She comes from a basketball family that is led by her father, Tom, a pretty good player in his time, who was a 1000 point scorer for Northwest Catholic.
“My father is very supportive of what I do,” Bisson said, “I first started playing soccer but it was always a dream of his to have me play basketball.”
Her older sister, Lauren, also played basketball at Mills but tore her ACL in her senior season and didn’t play again.
In a bit of irony, it was younger sister Nicole who took her place and went through a baptism under fire as a sophomore, as did the bulk of this team.
“That was a team that went 12-8 during the regular season,” Fowler said, “They got hot late and beat Thomaston by 24 in the Berkshire League Tournament. Nicole played a huge roll.”
Since that time, Bisson has concentrated on becoming the best point guard in the BL and it’s hard to argue that she just might have earned that distinction.
Her coach thinks so.
“Nicole has cut down on her turnovers while increasing her assists since her sophomore year in a big way,” Fowler said, “Right now she is under two turnovers per game while averaging over five assists.”
Being part of a team that plays tough, full court pressure defense takes endurance, something Bisson does not lack.
“We run a lot in practice,” Bisson said, “Coming off a great soccer season had most of us in great shape.”
Playing time is sometimes shortened for the Spartans starters because of big leads that empty their bench.
If not for that, Bisson would be ready to play 32 minutes if needed.
“It’s hard to measure how important Nicole is to us,” Fowler said, “She does a lot of the little things that don’t show up in the stats. She has great speed and endurance.”
When tested, which hasn’t been often this year, Bisson and her mates have been up to the task.
Against Nonnewaug on January 25 in Burlington, Bisson drew the assignment of guarding one of the top scorers in the BL, Caitlin Drakeley.
Drakeley had been on a roll coming into the Chief’s match up with Mills, averaging in the area of 24 points per game over her previous four games and over 17 per game for the season.
Bisson puts the clamps on Drakeley in a big time shut down, allowing the ace just eight points on one field goal and six free throws.
What will make this 2010-2011 season a success for Bisson?
It begins and ends with perfection.
“We want to go down in history as the only Lewis Mills team to go 20-0,” Bisson said, “That is goal one. Next we want to have the kind of run into the State Tournament that we had in soccer with a better result.”
With five games to go in the regular season, perfection (part one) is not far off but also won’t be a cake walk.
Each of the five remaining teams will want to break the streak, just as the Spartans did to the Golden Bears in their first meeting this season when they ended that Thomaston 29- game BL winning streak in a dominating, 62-36 win.
The road will present challenges with games at Wamogo, Northwestern and Thomaston and home games against Wolcott Tech and Housatonic.
As Fowler reminds his team each practice, “We haven’t won anything yet.”
The pressure will also ramp up as the days dwindle down to that last game in Burlington against the Mountaineers.
Going 20-0 is not an easy task; ask the Golden Bears.
While the remainder of her history is yet to be written at Mills, Bisson already has an idea of what she wants to be remembered by as she takes her education to the next level.
“I want to be remembered as the girl who always made things happen,” Bisson said, “As someone who worked hard to become a talented point guard who always put the team first.”
By definition, a great point guard makes her team better and at 15-0, consider the point well cared for and taken.