The Joseph Eagles girls flew away with a victory over the Livingstone Adventist Academy in the second game of state 1A playoffs, 61-37.
The Lions never stood a chance as the Eagles’ press and twin 17-point scoring of Sabrina Albee and Camille Crenshaw plus 14 from Madelyn Nelson put the lid on the Lions.
The Eagles jumped to a quick 9-2 lead with both teams running a press and kept going, but in the second quarter, the Lions temporarily brought the rout to a halt as they went on an amazing run of three-pointers that brought them to within three points of Joseph. As anyone who follows the Eagles knows, a little bad luck doesn’t paralyze the squad and after a timeout, JCS got right down to business, going into halftime with a 33-23 lead.
The second half opened with a Sabrina Albee three-pointer to start blowing the game open, and the Eagles never looked back.
Coach Lance Homan said he had faith in his girls to win, but he respected the Lions’ talent, as teams don’t get to state without it.
“They (the Lions) were athletic and quick, and it was a well-fought game, but our kids pulled it out,” he said.
He also praised the Eagles for their response after the Lions’ three-pointer blitz.
“I have been around these kids enough — they don’t panic, and they don’t get worried,” he said. “I trust them. I’m a little overwhelmed now because of everything that’s happened and how hard they’ve fought to get back
Crenshaw noted that state playoffs can get nerve wracking but said her team has gotten closer since the Jan. 16 fire that put the school’s gym out of commission.
“After districts, we’ve gotten closer than we’ve ever been,” she said. “I was pretty confident going into the game, but as usual, I have those pregame nerves,” she said with a laugh.
The senior said that even when the Lions crept to within three points in the second quarter, she never worried about her teammate’s response. She’s seen them respond to similar situations with better teams.
“With our team, we always have a determination and drive to win, and I always have confidence in each and every person,” Crenshaw said. “You can stick anyone in, even off the bench, and I have confidence.”
Coach Homan said that after the trials the team has been through, it’s a pleasure to watch them overcome adversity.
“I’m a little overwhelmed now because of everything that’s happened and how hard they’ve fought to get back to Baker,” he said. “It’s a huge accomplishment for our school and community — it’s very emotional.”
The Eagles next play fourth ranked Damascus Christian on Wednesday, March 4 in Baker at 3:15 p.m.