The Crossroads varsity girls basketball team finished its regular season two weeks ago, but the squad’s 2018-19 campaign was far from over.
The Roadrunners engineered a path to the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA semifinals, where they will host Cathedral City on Friday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. The winner will play in the title game Feb. 23.
“We’re reaching our full potential, and we are showing a lot of heart,” senior co-captain Kennedy Martin says.
The team’s postseason success has been in the making for weeks. Following a setback against Gold Coast League champion Sierra Canyon at home Jan. 18, the Roadrunners closed out the regular season on a five-game winning streak that featured three double-digit victories.
Crossroads entered the playoffs Feb. 7 against Chino, overcoming the long road trip to prevail 54-49. Kennedy and juniors Mimi O’Neal, Mia LaFayette and Taylor Plummer all scored in double figures to give the team a balanced offense.
“We started playing together as a team,” says senior co-captain Leily Martin (no relation to Kennedy). “Everyone is a threat offensively, and our defensive intensity has picked up.”
The victory propelled the Roadrunners into the second round, where they pulled off a thrilling 63-62 comeback win at home Feb. 9 against South Torrance. Trailing by 20 points at the break, Crossroads put together one of its strongest halves of the season.
Mimi scored 18 of her game-high 26 points in the second half, while Mia and Leily kept South Torrance’s best scorer in check. With 4.7 seconds to play and the Roadrunners down by one point, Mia was fouled on a drive to the basket and made both free throws to seal the Roadrunners’ one-point victory.
“What a game,” coach Ryan Wilde says. “Our girls showed a ton of grit and heart. ... There were multiple occasions where we could have folded and given in, but they kept on battling. I’m very proud of the team and our entire Crossroads family.”
The Roadrunners kept their season alive with a 52-47 road win over Whittier Christian in the quarterfinals Feb. 13, building up a 40-26 lead entering the fourth quarter and withstanding full-court pressure late in the game.
“We’re just now starting to play the way we know we are capable of,” Mia says.