I'm not sure what percentage of games involving #1 seeds vs #8 seeds lead to the latter's favor, Thursday night though, at the Haven Wildcat Classic, it was 100% of the time. Our 5-4 Lady Crusaders hung tight, kept their composure under the guidance and direction of some awesome coaching, refused to let an early game barrage of Wildcat 3's dampen their spirits or determination and in front of a stunned Wildcat home crowd, nailed down a nailbiting 49-46 victory, spoiling the hosts' tournament in their new and quite nice gymnasium, and forcing folks to take notice of Wellington's new and loftier presence on the tournament bracket!
The Lady Crusaders played one of their best games ever, the senior leadership was what senior leadership is supposed to be - Avery Rusk pumped in 28 (her never say die attitude was in high gear), Mekenna "cool hand" Adams, calmly slammed down FT's near games' end to put the big ole bold-type "1" in the Lady Wildcats LOSS COLUMN! How sweet it was! Senior Gracie Fink even slammed down a "3" early on, her and others doing all they could to not allow the fast paced game get away. The raucous and quite confident Haven fan base and players, just couldn't put the game away and they fell silent through much of the contest as Wellington stayed within striking distance, from the mid 1st qtr until the final surge the last 5 minutes...too bad for the host. The Lady Crusaders never gave up. Juniors Jacelyn Buck and Taylor Meyer hustled, hustled, hustled and "3" WHS Freshmen saw action as well, Rylee Rusk, Draven Warnock and Lexi Clift, Rylee, a lot of action and 9 pts to boot!
The Lady Wildcats shot a lot of free throws down the stretch, the Lady Wildcats didn't make a lot of free throws down the stretch. The Lady Crusaders applied pressure, the host and their crowd began to smell real trouble nearly halfway through that 4th qtr when Wellington, having been down double digit points early on, suddenly took the lead for the first time at the 5:35 mark. You could smell upset but the game would stay close until Adams calmly nailed her FT's to extend the lead to 3...the Lady Crusaders would swarm the ball and steal it away, never even allowing the Wildcats a final shot and a chance at OT. The buzzer sounded, Wellington fans erupted - the lowest seed in the tournament had themselves one sweet victory!
Congratulations to Head Coach Adams, an undefeated and over confident Wildcat opponent met their match Thursday evening, the Lady Crusaders had come to play and play they did. PROUD TO BE A CRUSADER FAN - you ladies were awesome!!
9/20 45% / 19/25 76% / 4/20 20% / 16
6 / 16 / 10 / 4
Avery Rusk - 28
Rylee Rusk - 9
Taylor Meyer - 6
Mekenna Adams - 3
Gracie Fink - 3
Next up - #5 seed Cheney (Friday @ 7:30), who easily downed #4 Nickerson to advance in the winners bracket. Cheney found great success vs our Lady Crusaders, back in early December, winning 65-39. If Cheney stuck around very long Thursday night, after their game, I doubt that game in December seems as relevant now as perhaps it once did. The Lady Crusaders are pumped and so are the fans!
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