When Ashanti Washington drilled in a jump shot with 2:42 remaining in the third quarter, she gave her Crestwood varsity girls basketball team a 43-26 lead over Hartsville. A victory that would give the Lady Knights at least a share of the Region …
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When Ashanti Washington drilled in a jump shot with 2:42 remaining in the third quarter, she gave her Crestwood varsity girls basketball team a 43-26 lead over Hartsville. A victory that would give the Lady Knights at least a share of the Region VI-4A title seemed but a formality.
It didn't go that way though.
In less than 30 seconds the Lady Red Foxes had the lead down to nine and to six by the end of the quarter. HHS rode that momentum into the final stanza and went on for a 65-63 victory at The Castle.
"We just got complacent," said CHS head coach Larry Crosby, whose team fell to 16-3 overall and 5-1 in region play. "We got careless with the basketball and had some turnovers and they got right back in the game.
"We told the girls that they can't take their foot off the gas. We thought the game was over in the third quarter, but we told them that Hartsville is going to keep coming, keep playing."
That they did. Hartsville, which improved to 13-2 overall and 5-1 in region play, scored 39 points in the final 10:33 of the contest.
"We just told the girls to keep playing," said Lady Foxes head coach Tammy Gibson, who picked up her first win over Crestwood in seven years as head coach. "That was our theme; regardless of what came our way, whatever happened, just keep playing."
The Lady Knights led 27-19 at halftime and it looked as though they had taken control of the game with a 10-0 run. Jah'Che Whitfield hit six free throws during that stretch and Washington's bucket gave CHS the 17-point advantage.
A seemingly innocent layup by HHS' Saquita Joyner was followed by a Crestwood turnover. Joyner sank two free throws before the Lady Knights turned it over the inbounds play. Taleah Stephens hit a layup and another turnover under the basket led to a Tarewyn Dawson jumper. Suddenly, it was 43-34 with 2:14 left in the quarter.
"We let them back in the game right there," Crosby said. "We had a chance to put them away, but we didn't."
Dawson drilled two 3-point shots and Jazolyn Pendergrass added one with one second left in the quarter to make it 49-43.
Destinee Jamison converted a 3-point play with 7:25 left in the final stanza to put CHS up 52-43. That didn't slow the Lady Foxes though; they reeled off 13 straight points to go up 56-52 with 3:36 to go.
Joyner, who didn't score in the first half but had 19 in the second half, tied the game with a trey. She then got loose on a fast break layup and sank two free throws for the 4-point cushion.
"We knew that she would step up for us,"| Gibson said of Joyner.
The Lady Knights managed to pull within one on two different occasions, the final time coming at 62-61 after two Jamison free throws with 57 seconds left. HHS beat the press and Joyner hit a layup off a nice assist by Mary Bishop-Tucker with 39 seconds to go.
Crestwood followed with a turnover and Joyner hit a free throw with 12 seconds left to put the game out of reach.
After Joyner's 19, Dawson had 16, Stephens 12 and Pendergrass 11.
Whitfield led CHS with 19. Jamison had 18 and Monijah Lewis tacked on eight.
Crestwood is going for its eighth straight region title. If the teams finish tied for the region lead, the Lady Knights would get the No. 1 seed in the state playoffs based on margin of victory. Each has two games remaining.
"We may be in the driver's seat, but we've got two tough games left," Crosby said. "We play Lakewood on Friday and then Darlington next Tuesday. We can't take anything for granted."
In the boys contest, Hartsville came away with a 49-44 victory. The Red Foxes, who improved to 13-8 overall and 3-3 in region play, broke away from a 10-10 tie after one quarter and led 21-15 at the half. They led 36-29 after three quarters.
Crestwood, which fell to 4-16 and 0-6, were led in scoring by Nazir Andino with 17. Kwaleek Jones and Jamel Walton both had six.
Kyron Gray led HHS with 16 points. Donquail Bishop and Dashawn Davis both had 12.
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