Ridge girls basketball to get Bright(er) again

07/28/2014 1:30 PM

07/28/2014 1:32 PM

Grayson Bright isn’t playing in a motion picture, but she will be going Back to the Future.

The guard who left Fossil Ridge after a strong freshman year to play last year at Parish Episcopal School is returning to Ridge for her junior year.

The reintroduction to the Lady Panthers’ lineup could be the difference for Fossil Ridge to finish higher than last year’s fourth place in the district and advance farther than the first round of the playoffs.

Bright said Parish Episcopal made it as far as the second round of the playoffs in their 4A division, but said coming back to the now 6A class will be a big step.

“I’m so excited to get back, absolutely,” Bright said of re-entering Fossil Ridge. “It was a different caliber of teams (at Parish Episcopal), but it was still high school basketball. It wasn’t that different.”

Bright averaged 17 points per game last season for Parish Episcopal and in her freshman campaign as a Lady Panther, she averaged 13.8, including hitting 47 3-pointers.

As a shooting guard, the 6-footer said she has been growing and hopes to hit 6-2 before she leaves in two years for Lubbock. She has recently given her commitment to Texas Tech.

With the greater height than most guards, Bright said she considers herself less of a driving-to-the-basket scorer, but she won’t hesitate to show her versatility.

“I can play post, but I prefer not to,” Bright said, noting she has been working on her ball-handling in her 6 a.m. workouts over the course of the summer to assist her guard play.

The propensity to catch-and-shoot may make Bright the perfect complement for Madison Crawford, who also returns for the Lady Panthers as the point guard.

“Having her (Bright) back will take some of the pressure off me,” said Crawford, who at 5-8, is more apt to drive and then kick the ball out to Bright.

Crawford was the leading scorer for the Lady Panthers last year, averaging 12.6 points per game, as well as garnering assists. The junior also committed recently and will attend Cal State Fullerton.

The two former and now, reunited, teammates, have maintained contact over the last year. Their mothers have remained friends, aiding the girls in keeping tabs on one another.

“I’m very excited to have her back,” said Crawford. “We’ve seen each other during the summer and have been at some of the same tournaments.” Both girls are playing for different select teams, Bright with Texas United and Crawford with the Texas Fire.

Crawford said she is also excited for the October practices to begin in earnest, saying replacing the two graduated seniors at Ridge with Bright may be a big key in returning to the playoffs.

Bright said there should be little transition time.

“We’ll have new freshmen and sophomores that are pretty good,” Bright said. “I’ll try to be more encouraging with my teammates, trying to help others to get better and not just myself. It should be easy to get back into Coach (Stacy) Henson’s scheme and philosophy.

“I know most everybody and I’m excited and ready for it to happen,” Bright added. “I feel like it’s our year and just ready for it to happen.”

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