The combination of Region IV-4A leader A.C. Flora visiting The Castle and what Crestwood High School varsity boys basketball coach Aric Samuel might term as home court jitters led to a 72-47 romp by the Falcons on Friday.
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"First of all, we played a good team. These guys have beaten everybody around the state," Samuel said of the Falcons, who ran their overall record to 20-2 while staying a perfect 6-0 in the region. "One thing I try to stress to my guys (is) you've got to take care of home court. No matter who comes through your door, you're home and you've got to play well at home. We don't play well at home. We play really nervous at home.
"It all starts with turnovers. We struggle to score and we try to increase the tempo and no matter if it's at the half or on the break we still make mistakes. I know we probably gave up 30 points off turnovers, and that happened the last game against Lakewood. No matter who we play, it's the same thing. We don't play well at home, and I don't understand that. It's like they're afraid to not be successful in front of these fans."
Crestwood kept the score close for half of the opening quarter, pulling even twice and standing tied 7-7 before a 13-2 run put the Falcons up by 11, 20-9. Flora would lead 22-11 heading into the second quarter and maintain a double-digit lead the rest of the way. The lead was as high as 19 before the Knights headed to the locker room staring at a 39-21 deficit.
Three-pointers by JaVontae Parrot and Montrell White to open and close the third quarter gave Crestwood a brief glimmer of hope as the home team trailed by 16, 49-33, heading to the final quarter. Then all hope was quickly extinguished as the Falcons went on a 13-0 run to open the fourth, stretching the advantage to a game-high 29 points at 62-33.
"We were right there in the battle for a while, we had some opportunities, but I told the guys you've got to hit a shot," said Samuel, whose team stands at 8-13 and 1-5. "Somebody's got to make a shot. They were able to make shots. Other teams are making shots. We're still trying to learn the system and we're not executing some of the things that we need to execute to be successful. so we're going to continue to work on that, we're not going to give up and try to get a couple of more wins this year."
White and Mitchell Pollard topped the knights with eight points apiece while Flora got 23 from Robert McCray and 16 from J.B. Moore.
Crestwood's girls overcame a sluggish start to pull away in the second half for a convincing 47-24 win over the Lady Falcons.
Both teams struggled offensively out of the blocks, with two Ashanti Washington threes to close the opening quarter propelling Crestwood to a 12-2 lead. Flora's first basket of the game came at the 6:41 mark of the second quarter on a rebound and follow by Trinity Delaney.
Fouls were a problem throughout for the Lady Knights, who were on the wrong side of a 26-12 infraction count. It started with an opening quarter that saw eight fouls called on eight different Crestwood players. Tashiana Farmer found herself quickly on the bench with three fouls after a foul and tech combo with 6:08 remaining in the half. Flora took advantage as Mikayla Eargle sank 3 of 4 free throws and Chasity Sessions scored on the low post to cut the lead to three, 12-9.
The Lady Knights managed to stem the tide and head to break with a 20-15 lead before taking full charge over the final two quarters. Like the first quarter, Flora managed just two free throws in the third quarter as the lead jumped to 14, 31-17. Crestwood continued what would end up being an 11-0 run with a CeCe Wells trey to open the fourth and stretch their cushion to 17. The final margin represented the Lady Knights' largest lead of the night as Crestwood limited Flora to two field goals and nine points in the second half.
Dynasia Jackson and Shania Davis fouled out late in the game for Crestwood while Washington played much of the fourth quarter with four fouls and Wells worked around a third foul picked up with five minutes left in the third quarter.
Washington closed with 14 and Wells added 11 for the Lady Knights, who remain atop the region standings at 6-0 while improving to 17-4 overall.
Sessions ended with six points to top the Lady Falcons, now 9-10 and 1-5.
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