Crestwood High School's varsity girls basketball team opened the second quarter of Friday's Region IV-4A game with Lower Richland on a 13-2 run that broke open what had been a close game and helped propel the Lady Knights to a 61-42 win at The Castle.
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"I challenged the girls to come out tonight with a lot of energy because a lot of times it seems we stand around and watch too much, so we had to have energy," said Crestwood head coach Tony Wilson, whose team advanced to 14-4 overall and 2-0 in region. "I know Lower Richland is a team that loves to play at a fast pace, so I told them in practice that we were going to work on taking care of the ball and rebounding, and we would be fine.
"I take my hat off to them (Lower Richland) because they play that type of style, an up-tempo game, and I was proud of A'Yonna (Young, who closed with 12 points and six rebounds) and Tashiana Farmer (eight rebounds, seven points and one steal) tonight because they really did a good job of rebounding the ball."
Young scored six points in the second quarter on putbacks and Farmer added a second- chance bucket on a follow in the fourth quarter, while Dynasia Jackson, who contributed 11 points, six rebounds and three assists, hit the boards for a putback 2 in the third.
Crestwood led 10-8 after one quarter, with LR's only lead of the night coming after a game-opening low-post bucket from Tyra Floyd. The Lady Knights doubled up the Lady Diamond Hornets at the break, 30-15, and led by 18, 45-27, after three before closing on the 19-point final margin. A 12-2 run, including a personal 10-point run by CeCe Wells, that started in the third quarter and carried over into the final quarter, helped establish Crestwood's largest lead of the night, 51-29, with 6:08 to go.
Wells, who finished with a team-high 16 points along with four rebounds, three assists and two steals, hit on five of six free throws and a 3-pointer among her points on the run and hit four consecutive free throws late while shooting two each for a personal and technical foul combo to close the night 9-for-10 at the line.
"I told CeCe that she had to step up, so she came out in the second half and did a pretty good job, like she normally does," Wilson said. "I think a lot of times she's got to find her way through the game and she'll be coming out at a slow pace, but she's got to learn to pick up the pace. I know that she's a good free throw shooter because we work on that in practice every day, so I was proud of the way she knocked down free throws today."
Anaia Nelson ended with 17 and Floyd added 11 for the Lady Diamond Hornets, who saw their record dip to 8-5 and 1-1.
While a big second-quarter run put the Lady Knights in a position to win handily, it was a slow start that doomed the Crestwood boys in an 80-62 loss.
LR rushed out of the blocks to an 18-3 lead and led by that same margin, 25-10, after one quarter. Crestwood fought back in the second quarter, whittling the lead down to five, 29-24, at the 3:25 mark and went to the break down by just seven, 41-34, after a Jaden Broughton 3-point basket to close out the first half.
The teams traded buckets to open the second half as the Knights still trailed by five, 43-38, before the Diamond Hornets started to pull away. A 16-5 LR run pushed the lead to 16, 59-43, with the score standing at 60-46 heading to the fourth.
The teams went on an extended stretch of back-and-forth baskets until the Diamond Hornets embarked on a 9-0 run that pushed the advantage to a game high 21, 73-52, with 4:43 to go. Back-to-back treys from Qua'Miar Stovall got the Crestwood faithful excited, but the Knights would get no closer than 17, 75-58, after Stovall's second 3.
"Lower Richland has got a very talented team, and that's obvious," said Crestwood head coach Aric Samuel, whose team dropped to 7-11 and 0-2. "They've got a couple of (NCAA) Division I players and talent-wise sometimes we're not at the top of that list, but we play hard and we compete. We play as a team and I feel like we have an opportunity to win, but we have yet to get that tempo that I want to see night in and night out. But we're going to continue to push, and I believe in these kids and what they can do. We've just got to get the confidence in place to where they will play harder and believe in themselves. If we do that, I think we can hopefully compete in some parts of this conference."
While they were fighting an uphill battle pretty much all game, the Knights also found themselves on the wrong end of a 27-11 foul disparity and struggled with ball security as turnovers plagued both teams in spots.
"Turnovers have been a big problem for us, and a lot of them are unforced," Samuel said. "We've got quick guards, but just making those decisions at the right times, that's what's been hurting us. We've got to play an aggressive style of basketball, and it appears we're not going to be able to because they call it real tight. So we've got to make some adjustments there. But I'm proud of the guys for fighting back, and the most important thing is that we stick together, stay together and do the right thing in life."
Mitch Pollard led the way for Crestwood with 13 points, while Mark Huffman added 11 and Joshua Mack chipped in 10.
The Diamond Hornets, who moved to 11-4 and 2-0, placed five players in double figures, led by Korey Richardson's game high 23 points. Quenton Flood followed with 18, while Melvin Archie had 12, Anthony Huff 11 and Dajon Townsend 10.
The Crestwood teams resume region play on Tuesday with a trip to Columbia to take on Dreher.
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