After Danielle Minton was an all-conference guard at Augustana College in Illinois, she envisioned a professional basketball career.
She was drafted by San Jose of the American Basketball League. But a knee injury that required surgery ended her playing days.
“Then I thought about coaching,” she recalls.
Her decision to apply for jobs has turned out to be extremely fortunate for Crossroads, which won only two games in girls’ basketball the year before Minton arrived.
With star player Samantha Grill playing in Minton’s first season, Crossroads advanced to the CIF playoffs, where it lost a first round game by four points.
The construction of a program was in its infant stages, and in Minton’s second year the victory total was a mere four.
That was the forgettable 2005-06 season when the boys team, a former powerhouse, won only four games too.
But this season, while Coach Kevin Brown restored the boys program to a playoff level, Minton did the same with the girls. In a sport where the school had no recent tradition, the Crossroads girls have a 13-10 record and have won two playoff games. The team finished second in the Delphic League by winning six of eight games and then defeated AGBU 41-32 and Calvary Baptist 54-17 in the playoffs, setting up a quarterfinal game this week against Faith Baptist.
All of that has been accomplished with a starting lineup that consisted of three freshmen and two sophomores.
There’s good reason to believe next season will be successful too, and the parts are in place for positive results for several years.
Once basketball becomes a winning experience, more girls are likely to try out. That would be helpful as the roster this season consisted of just eight players.
“It means we don’t have competitive practices and there’s no scrimmaging unless the coaches play,” said Minton. “There isn’t the chance someone will win a starting job by playing well in practice. In most successful programs that element of competition is there.”
And yet, Minton’s players made it work. After losing four straight games early in the season, they beat Scott Academy twice, 58-20 and 53-28, beat Viewpoint 47-39, rolled over Archer and lost only to LA Baptist two times.
Freshman point guard Megan Baer directs the offense. The other names to remember are Brianna Jackson, Christina Murray, Shannon McQueen, Alexa Palacios and the top reserve, Channer Miller, who also excels in tennis and softball.
McQueen’s arrival this season from Lennox Middle School, which had a championship team, was a boost to the Roadrunners’ program.