In a hard-fought game that heavily tested the Lady Crusaders’ endurance, Griffin Christian showed signs of improvement in the transition game while proving it could handle the Lady Eagle press. Arlington (12-4 overall, 8-0 GISA Region 4-AA) showed its strategy early, implementing a full court press in the first that would last for the entire game.
The Lady Eagles forced several turnovers in the back court, but its poor shooting both from the field and the line gave away a lot of easy opportunities early. The Lady Crusaders (7-14, 1-7 GISA Region 4-AA), meanwhile, capitalized well when it got the ball up court, shooting good and finding the open man in transition.
Griffin Christian was at its best when converting on scoring opportunities, and seemed to have worked hard in preparing for the Lady Eagle press since its last meeting in mid-December. At the end of the first, the Lady Crusaders only trailed by seven, a true reflection of how much hustle and determination it put into staying in the game.
Arlington’s shooting woes stopped in the second, propelling it to a 30-14 lead midway through and severely dampening Griffin Christian’s momentum. The Lady Crusaders still managed to come up with good plays, however, including several big possessions in transition from Leyah Brown and Lily Hammond. With 1:07 left in the first, Brown went coast-to-coast for an open layup and easy bucket, and at the 3:13 point in the second, Lily Hammond stole the ball in open transition that set herself up for an easy jump shot. By the time the first half ended, Arlington shot Griffin Christian out of the game, finishing with a 43-19 lead and effectively putting the match out of reach.
In the third, Arlington slowed down, but still held a commanding control of the pace. One minute into the half, Griffin Christian’s best player in pushing the pace up the floor, Brown, came down on an Arlington player’s foot, appearing to severely sprain her ankle. With that loss, the Crusaders were sent back immensely, and even though it came up with several more big transition plays, it was too little, to late. Griffin Christian stayed with it to the end, but down 61-31 going into the fourth just didn’t quite cut it.
Rounding out the top Crusaders were Brittany Foster with five points and 11 rebounds, Hannah Branham with four and four, Brittany Brogdon with three and six, and Brown with four and one. Eleven of 12 Lady Crusaders scored in the game.
The Crusaders’ next game will be at home on Jan. 31 against region opponent LaGrange Academy.