Crossroads Girls Basketball hosted Cathedral City on Friday night with a trip to the 3AA CIF SS Championship on the line.
It was rainy and cold outside, but Crossroads fans piled into the gym and received their white ‘Go Roads’ tee shirts for the ‘white out’. Cathedral City carried an impressive 24-2 record, having won 21 straight games coming into Friday night, with their last loss coming on November 26, 2018.
Cat City came out of the gates hot, scoring the first 6 points of the game. Crossroads maintained their composure and struck back on 2 free throws and a lay up by junior Mimi O’Neal. Cat City took a 14-13 lead early in the 2nd quarter, but then Crossroads really clamped down the defense, limiting Cat City to only 3 points in the 2nd quarter. Junior Taylor Plummer scored a layup on an offensive rebound to end the half, giving Roads a 25-14 halftime lead.
Senior co-captain Kennedy Martin commented, “Our lockup defense was a huge part of the game and it allowed the rest to handle itself. We wanted to win more and overall showed more heart.”
Cathedral City came out of the locker room on a 9-0 run, cutting the deficit to just two points at 25-23. Roads responded with a quick 6-0 run on consecutive baskets by Plummer, senior co-captain Leily Martin, and junior Mia LaFayette. Mimi O’Neal showcased her soft touch with back to back 12 foot jumpers soon after helping to spread the Cat City defense. Roads held a 35-29 lead after 3 quarters. The Roadrunners increased their lead in the 4th before Cat City came rolling back in a fury behind 12 4the quarter points by #3 Nina Wallace.
Cathedral City took a 50-49 lead on 2 free throws and Crossroads was forced to use their final timeout with 26.8 seconds left. Out of the timeout, Leily Martin got the ball and took it hard at the rim, scoring a layup and giving Crossroads back the lead with 17 seconds remaining.
After a Cat City timeout, the Lions brought the ball down and Wallace received a handoff meaning the game would be in her hands. Despite suffering a knee injury earlier in the quarter, Kennedy Martin took to her defensive stance. As Wallace tried to make a move toward the basket, Kennedy slid her feet quickly and then Leily Martin swooped in to double team. Leily came away with the steal and went straight for the rim connecting on a layup to put Roads up 53-50 with just seconds remaining. Cat City threw up an airball three at the buzzer and Roads again celebrated at mid court!
After the game Leily said, “We worked cohesively the whole night. We held them to one shot, and continuously fought for the ball.” Mimi O’Neal led all scorers with 18, Leily Martin had 16, and Mia LaFayette had 13. Kennedy Martin was the defensive stopper and Taylor Plummer played with passion all over the court. Freshman Althea Hill and sophomore Annika Blomquist provided solid minutes off the bench. Coach Ryan Wilde commented, “This team continues to grow and gain confidence. Our girls are embracing this tournament run, and they have no intention of letting up now. We will be ready for next Saturday.”
Winners of their last 9 games, Crossroads advances to the championship on Saturday February 23rd against Santiago from Corona, who beat #1 seed Brentwood 68-60. Time and location to be determined.
Submitted by Tara Shima