LAKE CITY — It all started when Chloe Bisballe was in third grade at Lake City Elementary School.
Her aunt Tera was coaching the fifth-grade girls team but they were short a few players. Would Chloe like to join?
She did, and in a sense she hasn’t stopped dribbling a basketball since.
Bisballe’s passion for the sport was honed in those early years, developed playing travel ball as a youngster and during her middle school years, and produced an abundance of fruit during her Lake City High School hardwood career as a versatile four-year starter at point guard known as much for her ability to read defenses, handle the ball under pressure, play suffocating man-to-man defense, and make smart decisions as for her ability to knock down shots from the perimeter or drive the baseline.
Bisballe’s career has definitely been eventful, featuring a berth in the MHSAA Division 3 state semifinals during her freshman year playing with 6-foot-2 cousin Rylie Bisballe. Chloe has helped the Trojans to multiple Highland Conference championships, two district titles and a regional title and an outstanding 55-8 record in 63 career games, with about three-quarters of her senior season still remaining.
On Thursday in the high school gym, the scene of so many of Bisballe’s highlights since the 2018-19 season, she signed to continue her hardwood career at Concordia University after she graduates this spring.
“I really liked the atmosphere there and they have a great nursing program, which was really important to me,” said Chloe just before signing flanked by parents Eric and Carrie and grandmother Norma Bisballe with Concordia head coach Kiefer Haffey looking on along with Lake City coach Bill Tisron and assistant coach Katie Richardson.
“The girls were very welcoming when I went to visit and I liked the coaching staff and the close-knit feeling I got from the campus. Everything just clicked. I felt like I fit in there.”
The 5-foot-7 Bisballe, who has been first-team All-Conference three times among other honors, had been pursued by other schools but knew she found her home at Concordia during her visit there.
“Chloe’s been on our radar for a while,” said coach Haffey, who is in his fifth year at the helm of the Cardinals’ women’s program.
“We place a real emphasis on two core values, being a great person and working really hard. Chloe exemplifies those values in addition to being a skilled, hard-nosed basketball player. We’re very excited to have her.”
Haffey said Bisballe would play either the point or shooting guard for the Cardinals, depending on how her skill set best fits.
Coach Tisron believes Bisballe will be a valuable asset at Concordia.
“She’s everything you want in a player,” he said. “She wants the team to succeed first and foremost. She’s the ultimate team player. She’s been a tremendous point guard for us and has always risen to the occasion, even starting at the point as a freshman on the team that went to the semis. Even in those high-stakes games she never lost her poise and played beyond her years.
“She’s been a great player for us; we’re gonna miss her greatly after she graduates.”
In her career to date, Bisballe has scored 605 points (9.6 per-game average) with 250 boards (4.0), 140 steals (2.2) and 150 assists (2.4).
She has helped Lake City to a 6-1 record to this point in the season and 5-1 in the Highland Conference, with key contributions from 6-foot cousin Mackenzie Bisballe.
“I’m very grateful to my mom and dad and all my coaches through the years and all my teammates,” she said. “I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for them.”