The CIF champion Crossroads girls’ basketball team has some rewards coming up.
The team’s seniors have designed championship rings that will be awarded. A championship banner is being prepared for permanent display in the school’s gymnasium. A team banquet is being arranged, tentatively scheduled for Long Beach in April.
And the CIF has a reward too. Crossroads will be elevated to stronger competition next season, going from the Delphic League to the Alpha League and from Division 5-A to 5-AA.
One league opponent will be powerful Valley Christian.
The CIF rearranges leagues every few years based on enrollment and a team’s playoff success. By reaching the semi-finals a year ago and winning the title this time, Crossroads became a candidate for a bigger challenge.
In addition to winning the first CIF girls basketball championship in the history of the school, the team coached by Kevin Cormier won one state tournament game, 51-41, over Exeter High of Fresno before being routed by eventual champion La Jolla Country Day, 67-27.
Country Day has four players receiving Division 1 college scholarships and similarly rolled past other playoff opponents.
“It was no disgrace losing to them,” said assistant coach Al Buck. “It showed our girls what is out there on the higher levels.
“But it was a joy to work with our girls this season. I’ve coached high school basketball for more than a decade, both boys and girls teams, and this is the smartest and most together group I’ve experienced.
“We set goals and they worked hard and accomplished them. The girls grasped the concepts.
“Maybe it’s because Crossroads is a small school, but they were really close friends. And if there were problems they handled them.”
Buck has done film work for former longtime college coach George Raveling and adopted one of Raveling’s phrases.
“He’d tell his players to empty their garbage pails and don’t bring your garbage onto the practice court,” said Buck. “In other words, if there are problems, solve them yourselves instead of bringing them to the coaches and letting them carry over to practice and game time.”
Crossroads went undefeated in league games and defeated two strong league opponents, LA Baptist and Sierra Canyon, again in the playoffs.
Now the off-season begins and the coaches have strongly recommended that the basketball players go out for the softball team.
“It has mutual benefits,” said Buck. “Crossroads might cancel its softball season if it doesn’t have enough players. And playing another sport will help other girls maintain their conditioning.
“There’ll be plenty of time in the future to go to the mall or sit for hours in front of the computer. We encourage the girls to enjoy their high school experience.”
Early indications are that enough basketball players will play softball in order for the season to go on. Some of the basketball players have a softball background but had not played for the Roadrunners.