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Tournament Win Boosts Crossroads Girls:

It’s been hard in the last two years to determine the direction of the Crossroads girls basketball program.

First, the Roadrunners won the only CIF championship in the sport in the school’s 50-year history. Then the coaching staff resigned. Last season the team went 14-9 with a new coach, not bad but not up to the standard of the previous season.

Everyone admitted the former coach was popular and the change to a new staff with new ideas was difficult.

This season the Roadrunners were routed in their first two games. But Crossroads has won the next six, including the championship of the Providence Tournament. In that event the girls avenged one of their losses by beating Los Angeles Baptist.

The previous coach, Kevin Cormier, now guides La Salle High of Pasadena. When his Crossroads team won the CIF championship some rival coaches were amazed, considering Crossroads’ focus on academics and even school-mandated trips that take players away from the team.

Malek Abdul-Mansour. now in his second season at Crossroads, said he didn’t have the entire squad for any of the team’s first 10 practices this season. And he pointed out that Crossroads players don’t participate in summer basketball, unlike those from many programs.

But now there’s a six-game winning streak.

“We finally had everyone at several practices and the girls are beginning to understand the offense,” said Abcul-Mansour.

“It’s an offense where every player touches the ball. They read the defense and decide if they have the best scoring opportunity. It’s a good offense for a team without a dominating center.”

Crossroads defeated Pasadena Poly in the Providence Tournament championship game, 65-58. Even tough Michelle Miller scored 40 points for Poly.

It was an example of a balanced teanm prevailing over one sprcial player.

Nadine Byers, Megan Baer and Shannon McQueen of the Roadrunners were named to the all-tournament team.

Even with six straight wins Crossroads hasn’t escaped some adversity. Katie Sherman, an outstanding defensive player, has left the team. And freshman Donae Balou fractured a wrsist and isn’t expected back for six weeks.

But Abdul-Mansour says several reserves have played well, including Caitlin Larry.

“As our offense progresses I think we’ll have some high-scoring games,” he said.

Crossroads will have home games January 6 against Calvary Chapel and January 8 against Brentwood.

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