BISHOPVILLE - The third time was not the charm for the Crestwood High School varsity girls basketball team on Thursday.
The Lady Knights met Spring Valley in the District 9 Officials Christmas Basketball Tournament for the third straight year, and they came up on the short end of the stick for the third time in a row. The Lady Vikings, trying to win the tournament title for the third year in a row, came away with a 61-44 win at the Lee Central High gymnasium.
"I really don't know what it was with us tonight," said CHS first-year head coach Larry Crosby, whose team fell to 9-2 on the season. "We told the girls what we wanted them to do, and they just did not execute it. We told them what was coming, and they just didn't respond.
"Offensively, they went away from what we wanted them to do and started play one on five," he added. "You can't win games playing one on five."
Crestwood struggled putting points on the board throughout the game, never being able to sustain any run of offensive success. Its only saving grace was that it was doing a good job of limiting SV, ranked ninth in the state among 5A schools by the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association.
The Lady Knights had scored just eight points at the midway point of the 16-minute first half, but Spring Valley had just 16. A layup by Monijah Lewis and a free throw from Shannoah Mack Cook had CHS within 16-11 with 5:47 remaining in the half. It had a chance to cut the lead to three, but was unable to do so. The Lady Vikings responded with an 8-1 run to go up 24-12 with two minutes left.
SV took a 31-19 lead into halftime.
"I told the girls at halftime that we were just down 12 and we had a chance to come back," Crosby said. "I also told them that it was up to them. There's only so much the coaches can do; then it's what they do."
The second half started on a positive note for Crestwood. It scored the first four points of the second half -- a free throw each from Cook and Destinee Jamison with a layup by Jah'Che Whitfield in between -- to cut the lead to 31-23 with 13:33 left in the game.
That would be the high point of the second half for the Lady Knights. They only scored two points over the next five minutes, while Spring Valley ran off 14 to open a 45-25 advantage with 9:43 left in the game.
Jamison led CHS with 18 points, while Whitfield finished with 14 and Cook with six.
Ashley Williamson led the Lady Vikings with 23 points. Lauryn Taylor added 14 from the low post, while Tykiera Wiley had nine and Taylor Lewis had seven.
Earlier in the tournament on Thursday, Crestwood defeated Scott's Branch 65-21. Jamison led the way with 20 points, five steals and four assists. Lewis had 15 and Whitfield 12, while Cook and Ashanti Washington both had six.
The tournament continues today with Crestwood playing just once among the six games. The Lady Knights will meet Newberry at 6 p.m.