Lady Cougars secure AISA Class 1A Runners-up

Published 3:15 am Saturday, February 11, 2023

Crenshaw Christian Academy varsity girls faced Lowndes Academy Friday, securing the Alabama Independent School Association Class 1A Runners-up after a 39-21 loss in the game.

Lowndes girls earned AISA Class 1A Championship title, ending their season in the state finals game at Cramton Bowl.

CCA varsity girls coach Cris Pederson said the teams had met on the court before and knew each other very well.

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“They beat us by 37 at their place the first time we played, but we were in foul trouble,” Pedersen said. “And, to stay true to ourselves, we got in foul trouble at our place. Going into the fourth quarter, they were only up by nine and they ended up beating us by 18.”

The Rebels took the lead at the start. In the first period, senior Molly Powell sank a three-point basket and by the period’s end, Lowndes was ahead 13-0.

Halfway through period two, the score held at 15-4 but just after the half, Lowndes pulled ahead with a 20-6 lead.

The teams battled on the court through the second half. CCA rallied in the third period with two minutes left to play, CCA gained 21 points and Marshall called a timeout.

“Tanna Singleton is a great ball player, hard inside, very good at blocking out and rebounding,” Marshall said. “We knew she would be tough and we needed to do something. We had a mental adjustment and changed our attitude. I told them we were playing not to lose, so we started playing, trying not to lose the game, trying not to make a mistake. We put a lot more attention on her during that time out.”

The Lowndes girls continued to push forward, ending the game with an 18-point lead.

Lowndes coach Matt Marshall said the CCA team was hard to beat but the Rebels came prepared to take home the victory.

“My standard is that we ought to compete [in this game] every year,” Marshall said. “We played them twice before. Every time we played them, they were better and better. We were watching them this week and we knew it was going to be a tough game.”

Pedersen said that for CCA, the season was about getting back into finals.

“We were a basketball school between 2000 and 2015,” Pederson said. “We had four boy’s championships and two girls’ championships. Somewhere along the way Crenshaw lost basketball. I kept telling the girls, we just have one goal in mind and that’s the end of the season. We played some tough teams. It gave us confidence when we played Sparta and Edgewood. I just tried to keep up their mental game, having confidence in themselves and their teammates.”

Marshall said Molly Powell had led the team since seventh grade. Powell and teammate Harley Hooper both valued the opportunity to capture the win.

“It means the world, especially for this team, coming through the season we did,” Powell said. “I think we couldn’t have done a better job and I couldn’t ask for a better team.”

Five girls — Powell, Hooper, and Haley Briggs from Lowndes as well as Laken Harrell and Singleton — received All Tournament Awards for their outstanding play in the association’s state finals game.

“We definitely worked together as a team this year and gave it our all,” Hooper added. “We let it all out on that court today.”

For Marshall, coaching sports means helping the girls achieve personal growth.

“I totally believe it’s more about what they are getting out of sports,” Marshall said. “When these girls are grown, they’re going to be able to compete for jobs, they’re going to be loving wives and mothers. Today we talked about not looking at the scoreboard, ever. We’re just going to try to be the best we can and be the best version of ourselves. Your moral character and how people look at you are way more important than the way you play basketball.”