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Crawford's milestone night keys big Willard win

By JOSH MORGRET • Jan 29, 2019 at 9:59 PM

WILLARD — Willard junior Cassidy Crawford was happy to score her 1,000th point in her career.

Getting it in a win over a rival is even more sweet.

Crawford paced the Flashes with 21 points and 14 rebounds, leading Willard past Shelby, 57-50, in non-league action on Tuesday inside Robert L. Haas Gymnasium at Willard High School.

"I would not want it any other way," Crawford said. "I was really glad I got it here against Shelby."

Crawford's layup with 4:32 left in the first quarter started the early celebration, with the game being stopped to recognize Crawford's achievement.

"We knew it was going to happen," Willard coach Jon Dawson said. "I talked to her after her freshman year and I knew she would score her 1,000th point as a junior. That was the kind of pace she was on."

The win did not come easily for the Flashes (12-3). Willard committed 25 turnovers, but used a 33-19 edge on the boards to overcome the Whippets (16-2).

"It is a very emotional game," Dawson said. "I keep forgetting that I have a bunch of sophomores out there. Sometimes, the big stage maybe gets to you a little bit. When push came to shove, we really settled down and got some huge buckets when we needed to."

The game was not decided until the final four minutes. Bailey Walter scored down low for Shelby, cutting the Flashes' lead to 49-48 with 3:23 to go, but Willard controlled the rest of the way.

Presley Feltner made two free throws 12 seconds later, and after a missed shot by the Whippets, Crawford went coast-to-coast off of a rebound for a layup. Shelby had multiple empty possessions, and was unable to keep up with Willard.

Emma Randall did score off of a steal for the Whippets, but Lydia Wiers scored off of an inbounds pass and Crawford went coast-to-coast again off of a rebound with 22 seconds left to seal the win.

Walter finished with 14 points for Shelby, but was hampered by foul trouble the whole night.

"That was huge," Dawson said. "She is a really good player for them. She is one of those kids that you feel like she has been there forever. She does some really nice things."

Kalli Sowers and Chloe Wiers scored in the final minute of the second quarter to give Willard a 33-29 lead at halftime. The momentum for the Flashes continued into the second half. Feltner scored twice and Layla Dials' bucket off of a steal pushed the Flashes ahead, 39-29.

Shelby — who's only loss before Tuesday was at Bellevue — did not go quietly. Olivia Baker hit a 3 before consecutive buckets from Walter brought the Whippets within 39-36. Mckenna Stephens scored to halt the Shelby run, but Sophia Niese's jumper and two free throws by Randall sliced the Willard lead to 42-40 after three quarters.

"Shelby is a team that knows how to win," Dawson said. "They have veteran players. I think at this point in the season, there is no quit in them and they are going to fight. They kept coming back at us."

Walter scored the first four points of the game, but a 8-2 run — capped by Crawford's 1000th point gave Willard a 8-6 lead. The Flashes led, 13-10, after eight minutes.

"Cassidy is a scoring kid," Dawson said. "Next year, she is going to become the all-time leading scorer. It is right there. She is a special kid to coach and she is a super talent. She makes people around her better."

The game remained tight after Randall's 3 tied the game early in the second quarter. The Flashes finally pushed through when Lydia Wiers grabbed an offensive rebound and fed Crawford for a bucket. She was fouled and made the free throw for a 26-21 lead with 4:16 left in the second quarter.

"1,000 is really cool, but when it was over, she forgot about it and she moved on," Dawson said. "She did what she needed to do to help us win that game. She made some big-time plays."

Feltner added eight points and six rebounds for Willard, who made 10 of 12 free throws.

"For the most part, we out-rebound our opponents," Dawson said. "That comes with the fact that we are not only tall, but I thought we did a nice job of boxing out. Our guards rebound well."

Randall paced the Whippets with 17 points. Shelby committed 21 turnovers.


SHELBY (16-2)

Sophia Niese 1-0—2, Emma Randall 7-2—17, Cierra Gurney 4-0—8, Bailey Walter 6-2—14, Olivia Baker 3-0—8, Emma Lybarger 0-1—1. TOTALS 21-5—50.

WILLARD (12-3)

Layla Dials 3-0—7, Chloe Wiers 2-1—5, Mckenna Stephens 3-0—6, Cassidy Crawford 8-5—21, Presley Feltner 2-4—8, Lydia Wiers 3-0—6, Haylie Hamons 1-0—4, Kalli Sowers 1-0—2. TOTALS 23-10—57.


Shelby 10 19 11 10 — 50

Willard 13 20  9  15 — 57

3-point FGs: (S) Baker 2, Randall; (W) Dials


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