By Thomas Sellers Jr.
And across the way in the other corner, the 6-foot, 2-inch Alabama signee Gabby Crawford. The girls’ championship game of the 2017 William L. Osteen Tournament on the campus of Millington Central High School features two premiere players on Ridgeway and Munford respectively.
While Crawford did her thing for the Munford Lady Cougars scoring 25 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, it was the defense of her teammate Aliyah Lee that sparked the Lady Cougars to a 54-23 win to claim the title Friday night.
“I know Gabby Crawford is the MVP of the tournament,” Munford Head Coach Steve Poindexter said, “but Aliyah Lee is the MVP of this game. The defense she put on their girl (Elizabeth Dixon), she played great defense. Awesome defense all night.”
Dixon and her Lady Roadrunners teammates found it difficult to score all evening. The Lady Cougars used team defense from Lee, Crawford, Camryn Bruce, Maiya Reed, Deja Potter and Mary Richardson.
Ridgeway was held to 3 points in the opening quarter. Meanwhile Munford scored 11 in the first quarter and 16 in the second period.
The Lady Cougars jumped ahead 17-6 in the second quarter when Lee made a put-back bucket. Later Crawford added a three-point play making the tally 20-7.
Then it was Lee’s turn to make an old fashion three-point play making the score 23-7. The combination of Lee and Crawford added a basket each making the halftime score 27-8.
“This maybe the first time all year we’ve had a game plan on both ends of the floor executed,” Poindexter said. “We had a game plan and were patient. We talked about it not being an up and down game. We wanted it to be an half-court game. And it was a half-court game the whole game and that was to our advantage.
“I thought we had mismatches and we took advantage of those,” he added. “Against the Zone, we made some good decisions and had some good shots.”
Munford scored another 27 points in the second half while Ridgeway managed 15 points in the final two quarters.
Joining Crawford on the All-Tournament team were Lady Cougars Reed, Potter and Lee. Poindexter said he hopes the younger players like Erin Cornelius, Richardson and Reed see how sticking to the game plan and putting team first leads to championship success.
“I don’t care what part of the season it is,” he concluded. “This is a tournament and we’re in a championship game. You want his experience. You don’t take this lightly. We want to win every possible championship we can win.”