North Crowley girls down Arlington Lamar to stay in playoff hunt

Posted Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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After falling 54-35 at Arlington Lamar in the first half of district play, North Crowley needed to make critical adjustments when the Panthers hosted the rematch Tuesday night.

In a game with plenty at stake for both teams, freshman guard Jurnee President took control and helped North Crowley issue a statement to the rest of District 3-5A with a 47-41 victory.

North Crowley (13-10, 6-4) is alone in fourth place after Weatherford (14-11, 5-5) lost Tuesday to first-place Arlington Bowie (22-2, 10-0). Lamar (15-7, 7-3) is a game behind second-place Arlington Martin (18-6, 8-2). Two weeks remain in the regular season.

“We were a completely different team tonight,” North Crowley coach Nicole Collins said. “We have such a young team, and I think our girls are finally starting to realize they can compete with the [top teams in the district].”

Foul trouble was a factor throughout the game with 42 combined fouls, especially for North Crowley when 6-foot-4 junior post Danielle Williams had to sit with three fouls in the second quarter. That’s when President led the Panthers’ offense like a seasoned veteran, scoring five of her game-high 15 points once Williams left the floor, including hitting a buzzer-beating 3-pointer before halftime to tie the score 21-21.

“She is a blessing with so much potential and talent,” Collins said of President. “She’s barely even tapped into her career yet.”

With whistles being blown both ways, making free throws was a key factor down the stretch.

Although the Panthers went 8 of 26 from the stripe, they were clutch when the game was in its waning seconds.

North Crowley led 43-41 in the final 30 seconds and finished 4 of 6 at the free-throw line to clinch the upset win and stay in playoff contention with four games left in district play.

“This game got us back in the district race and puts us in a position to accomplish our goal of finishing in the top four spots,” Collins said.

The Vikings struggled from the free-throw line, too, going 8 of 23. Jada Washington paced Lamar with 14 points off the bench.

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