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Crestwood girls, Scott's Branch boys District 9 champs

By EDDIE LITAKER
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 12/31/19

The Crestwood High School varsity girls basketball team completed an undefeated run through the 23rd Annual District 9 Officials Christmas Basketball Tournament on Saturday with a 72-55 championship game win over Hartsville at Morris College's …

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Crestwood girls, Scott's Branch boys District 9 champs

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The Crestwood High School varsity girls basketball team completed an undefeated run through the 23rd Annual District 9 Officials Christmas Basketball Tournament on Saturday with a 72-55 championship game win over Hartsville at Morris College's Garrick-Boykin Human Development Center.

In the boys' title game, it was Scott's Branch holding off a furious rally by Crestwood to claim an 84-82 victory.

Crestwood's girls led by as many as 15 points in the first half before the Lady Red Foxes trimmed the lead to nine, 40-31, at the break. A 9-0 run by the Lady Knights to open the second half would essentially put the game out of reach for Hartsville.

Carnashia Wells claimed tournament Most Valuable Player honors for the Lady Knights after a championship game tally of 14 points, three rebounds, three steals and four assists.

"I think this week in this tournament we were pretty good," Crestwood head coach Tony Wilson said after his Lady Knights won their four tourney games by an average of 26 points. "I think the chemistry is starting to come around a little bit now. They're looking for each other, and CeCe (Wells) does a real good job controlling the tempo of the game and passing the ball and finding open shooters and stuff, so I was proud of the way she played throughout the tournament."

Saturday's win was a team effort as many Crestwood players put forth MVP-worthy numbers, led by A'Yonna Young's 18 points and 15 rebounds. Young already had a double-double by halftime, with 11 points and 10 rebounds in the first 16 minutes.

Tashiana Farmer also closed with a double-double stat line that included 11 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot, while Dynasia Jackson came up one rebound shy of that distinction, ending with 11 points, nine boards, two assists and one steal. Ta'Janique Johnson added eight points, three steals and one rebound for the Lady Knights, who ran their record to 12-2 on the season.

The boys game was a back-and-forth affair that saw both teams seemingly in command at different times.

The first half saw three ties and seven lead changes, with Crestwood building a 29-18 lead only to see Scott's Branch storm back for a 41-36 halftime edge. The Eagles led 81-69 with 2:38 left in the contest, but had to stave off the Knights. A JaVontae Parrott trey brought the Knights within 83-82 with 10 seconds on the clock. Tariq Coard hit one of two shots at the line with five seconds to go, and Parrott was short on a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

"It's hard to beat a team twice," said Crestwood head coach Aric Samuel, whose team defeated Scott's Branch 77-62 in the Thursday tourney opener for both teams. "We're just trying to instill in those guys that defense wins championships."

Scott's Branch head coach Steve Nelson was very encouraged with the game his team played.

"We knew that they were going to give us that man-to-man pressure and we just had to withstand it," Nelson said as his team improved to 7-4 overall. "They play hard, they play aggressive, so just make sure that we take care of the ball."

R.J. Gibson ran away with tourney MVP honors after pouring in 27 points, including 9-for-12 shooting at the free throw line. Antavius Stukes added 15 and Coard closed with 14 for Scott's Branch.

Mitchell Pollard topped the Knights with 22 points while Joshua Mack ended with 17 and Montrell White chipped in 11.