It’s a form of the Golden Rule: “Be the teacher you would want others to be for you.”
That’s how Mansfield Lake Ridge senior Jasmine Croskey said she approaches being a leader for the younger players on the girls basketball team.
Croskey, a 5-8 guard who is on the varsity for her second year, appreciates the opportunity to continue and build upon the program’s legacy.
Lake Ridge lost a core of five seniors from last year, and Croskey is one of six seniors on this year’s quad.
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“Last year, we looked up to the seniors and could see what they did,” Croskey said. “Now, younger eyes are watching me. We want to make sure they’re ready when we’re all gone.”
Croskey realizes doing the right thing for younger players includes setting an example with her play on the court as well as after practice and games.
Croskey isn’t the team’s top scorer, registering about seven points per game, but she possess a great ability to go vertical, she said.
But has a more fulfilling role on the team. She enjoys making the assist.
“I love helping my teammates out like that,” Croskey said. “I definitely love to get to the basket, though, too.”
Her desire to share the ball is not unlike her days on the soccer field, always working the ball to the open player. But Croskey said after playing for 11 years, she gave up soccer for basketball once she got to high school.
“I’m happy with that decision,” she said of focusing on basketball. “I think playing soccer definitely helped me with the conditioning, and a lot of the skills and techniques carried over to basketball. You have to have quick feet and be in shape.”
Quick feet and strong conditioning help Croskey on defense, an aspect of the game on which she said the Lady Eagles can hang their hat this season.
“Defense is what Coach (Stephani Gray) preaches about most,” Croskey said. “We have definitely improved since the start of the season. Our defense gives us time to on offense and score.”
Since that start to the season, Lake Ridge has found a chemistry which Croskey said was forged on a road trip to a tournament in Houston.
“I think we found that missing link we needed and the team chemistry came around,” she said.
One area which Croskey said needs improvement should be remedied in part with better chemistry.
“We need to talk more on the court,” she said. “It’s a big part of defense and we’re getting better, and everyone still needs to be more vocal.”
What they say on the court and what is said by example and teaching will benefit Lake Ridge this year and after Croskey graduates.
“The takeaway for the younger girls is to always keep your head up when you’re going through tough situations,” she said. “Always have a positive attitude no matter what happens.”