High-energy Lindsey Nicholson was Skyline’s game-changer

June 21, 2011

By Christopher Huber

When Skyline High School girls basketball players would come to pre-game warm-ups, they would find the colorful artwork of senior guard Lindsey Nicholson covering the whiteboard.

Skyline High School senior Lindsey Nicholson stood out as a leader on the basketball court and the softball field. She plans to play softball at Boise State University. By Christopher Huber

She often drew pet animals for each player. The silly antics were meant to keep the mood light among the team members before game time, head coach Greg Bruns said, but Nicholson got down to business when necessary.

“She always had the mentality of team before herself, which is hard to find, at least among high school athletes,” longtime teammate and senior Michelle Bretl said. “She was never really about the recognition.”

Nicholson graduated from Skyline on June 10 having participated in all 12 sports seasons of her high school career. She excelled in softball from an early age — and was named the 2011 KingCo 4A softball MVP — but also ran cross country and became a leading force on the basketball court.

“Lindsey’s quickness allowed her to regularly win all the running drills in practices and served her well in defending most any player in the league,” Bruns wrote in an email.

Nicholson has always been into softball. She has played since tee-ball, made the varsity squad her freshman year and worked hard all the way through high school to become a captain her senior year.

“That’s my No. 1,” she said. “It’s a quick game and you always have to be prepared for anything. The game can change very quickly.”

While many standout athletes find they are driven to compete and work harder after a major injury, Nicholson said she’s never been injured. She finds softball the most exciting because the game could change at any moment, so she does everything she can to change it in her team’s favor.

“I like the intensity of it all,” she said. “Something great can happen with every pitch.”

Thinking back on four years of sports in high school, Nicholson connected lessons learned in sports to the rest of life.

“You kinda have to work hard for everything you get,” she said.

That might be one reason the basketball team voted her most improved her senior year.

She said she felt at the top of her game when the Skyline girls basketball team made it to the state tournament in early 2011. Nicholson, who scored the second most points for Skyline (207, averaging almost nine points per game) and was among the KingCo leaders in 3-pointers made, felt less pressure as a senior but seemed to perform better.

“Throughout the whole year, I stepped up my game … something clicked,” she said. “It feels good when it all clicks together. When I step on the court, I have an opportunity to create something for my team.”

Bruns commended her as one of the clear leaders on and off the court in her final year.

“Whether it would be to jump into her high-short dance routine or knocking down some quirky trick shot to end practice, she found a way to relieve tension and help everyone keep perspective and focus when we needed to,” he said.

Like most athletes, Nicholson said she experienced plenty of ups and downs in her 12 seasons of high school sports. But a consistent force that helped her stay focused was her parents. They encouraged her to be persistent and remain committed. She said she didn’t like the thought of finishing her senior year not having played one of those 12 seasons.

“My parents kept me in it,” she said. “I felt I would be quitting myself if I quit sports.”

Nicholson is committed to play for Boise State University next year and seems to have a positive outlook about her future in softball.

“I liked the small, big-town feel,” she said about the university’s location in southwest Idaho.

She said she’s looking forward to the general excitement of moving away to college. But competing for a place on the softball team as a freshman will pose a welcome challenge.

“I look forward to competing for spots,” Nicholson said. “It pushes me to do my best.”

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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