Monday, April 22, 2024

Ward leads Crestwood to postseason win at Jefferson

JEFFERSON–Crestwood’s Hannah Ward outscored host Jefferson in leading the Red Devils to a 49-28 win over the Falcons in a Division II sectional semifinal on Wednesday.

Ward and the Red Devils opened the game on a 13-0 run and never looked back in advancing to Saturday’s sectional final at Glenville.

“It’s kudos to the kids,” said Crestwood coach T.J. Henderson. “We’ve been off for a week, but last Thursday was our best practice of the year, and the practices have been improving since. We were laser-focused yesterday at practice. Seeing that at the end of the year got them ready for this game.”

Ward opened the game with nine first-quarter points with a pair of 3-pointers on her way to a game-high 29 points.

Liv Martini, who racked up five steals in the quarter, was another critical piece to Crestwood’s hot start. She scored four points on transition baskets and finished the game with 12 points and nine steals.

“Liv has come into her own lately; she thrives in transition on offense, and it’s so much fun to watch,” Henderson said. “Everyone knows who Hannah Ward is. (Jefferson) comes into the gym and immediately knows who they have to take away. She’s just a great player.”

The Red Devils rode that first-quarter momentum to a 28-15 halftime lead.

Jefferson opened the second half the way the Red Devils did the first and Alexandra Costart’s 3-pointer cut Crestwood’s lead to 30-22.

The Red Devils responded with a 6-0 run to close the quarter, then outscored the Falcons in the fourth, 13-4.

When Jefferson cut the lead to eight early in the third quarter, coach Henderson called a timeout to refocus his team, and Crestwood responded well to win the game.

“When they cut the lead, we knew it could happen,” Henderson said. “For us, it was just a matter of believing in each other and doing our jobs. We were able to do that after the timeout, and we came out on top.”

Crestwood has now won eight of its last nine games and improved to 13-10 on the season heading into Saturday’s matchup with Glenville.

“For us, our mindset is that we can only control ourselves,” Henderson said. “We can’t control what (Glenville) is going to do. We just have to focus on us, what we do offensively and defensively. There’s a lot of things we did good tonight, and some things we can learn from to get better at, and hopefully that can help us move on to the next round.”

Crestwood’s most significant difference was the ball movement, keeping Ward off-ball and opening up shots for others.

“Everyone knows about Hannah, but they don’t know some of the other talent and skills we have on our team with other girls,” Henderson said. “We talked about that a lot. We knew it wasn’t going to be one player to win this game. Any of our girls can score and get to the basket, and they can all make that extra pass and help us win. That was the message–focus on the team, moving the basketball, and when it’s your turn to shoot, do it confidently.”

Maddie Dustman contributed to the win with five points and five rebounds, Becca Brady scored two points with four more rebounds, and Grace Harper finished with one point but racked up eight boards for Crestwood.

Jefferson ended the season 10-13.

Mia Contenza posted a double-double with 12 points, 14 rebounds, and four steals. Costart finished with eight points, Danielle Furman scored six, and Riley Franklin contributed four points for Jefferson.



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