Marshwood’s Lina Bisson

Girls Hoop Showcase: Bisson, Howe at the point of attack entering Class A South showdown

By Jay Pinsonnault jpinsonnault@seacoastonline.com  Ryan O’Leary roleary@seacoastonline.com

Jan 13, 2020 

 Lina Bisson loves playing against old friend Nina Howe and the York High School girls basketball team, maybe now more than ever.

Lina Bisson loves playing against old friend Nina Howe and the York High School girls basketball team, maybe now more than ever.Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 12.35.13 PM Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 12.35.02 PM Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 12.34.39 PM Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 12.34.04 PM

Both Marshwood (9-2) and York (7-3) take top-four records into Tuesday night’s Class A South showdown in South Berwick, Maine. Both have also been playing their best basketball since Dec. 18, when an aggressive Howe piled up four 3-pointers and 26 points in York’s surprising 66-38 win over the Hawks at YHS.

“We’ve handled them pretty well the last couple of years,” Marshwood coach Steve Freeman said, “but they buried us at York.”

Tuesday’s 6:30 p.m. rematch at Marshwood won’t lack for great storylines. York — which was 0-3 entering that first meeting — has won seven straight since. The Hawks have won four straight and six of seven since falling into an early 22-10 hole on York’s floor and never recovering.

And it doesn’t get much better than the backcourt battle between Bisson and Howe, two of the state’s best at the point guard position.

“She’s a very good player,” Howe said of Bisson. “I love playing against her. We have been playing against each other for a long time now, and it will be fun to play against her one more time.”

“She’s insane,” Bisson added of Howe before Monday’s practice. “She’s definitely one of the best players I’ve ever played against. But since I’ve known her for so long, I feel like I know how she plays and can match up with her well.”

Both guards attack in different ways.

Bisson, one of three seniors leading the Hawks this season along with Kayla Goodwin and Casey Perry, loves to shoot from the 3-point arch and the free-throw line. She hit six 3-pointers in a recent win over Traip Academy and scored a season-high 24 points in a 12-point win at Wells in the second game of the season.

“She likes to shoot a lot of 3s,” Freeman said, “and this team knows that if she’s open, she gets the ball. No one has to tell anybody else.”

York was able to limit Bisson to nine points on three made 3-pointers in the first meeting.

“We were able to shut her down last game. That was the key for us,” York coach Jess Stacey said. “We did a pretty good job the first time around, and we came out of there with a big win. She is definitely on our radar.”

Howe is crafty with the ball in her hands and can torment teams off the dribble in transition if you let her. She’s averaging 16.4 points a game and has scored in double figures in eight of York’s 10 games; the 26 points she scored against Marshwood was a season-high.

“She’s continued to get better,” Freeman said. “I think she’s taken huge strides this year being the leader of that team and really just being really aggressive.

“I’m sure they’ll find each other,” he added of the matchup with Bisson, “and it could come down to everybody else.”

Marshwood should have a size advantage inside with Perry, who missed the first meeting against York, and Goodwin. Both will be the tallest girls on the court when they’re in the game; though, York’s quickness has given taller teams fits this season.

The Wildcats are bolstered by a talented sophomore class that’s led by Ava Giacobba, Rose and Clara Pavuk, and Emily Ranforth.

In the end, it all comes down to a rivalry that’s now firing on all cylinders.

“Marshwood struggled against us that first game, and I think they are looking for redemption and we know that,” Stacey said after Saturday’s 35-point win over Class B Cape Elizabeth. “We have to keep the foot on the gas pedal right now, that’s pretty much the key to our success.”

“I don’t have to say much going into this game,” Freeman said of his girls. “Maybe I have to temper their enthusiasm a little bit, but they really want to get after it (on Tuesday).”

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