The girls basketball season ended not by defeat but by a virus, so all you can really say is: What if?
The Crusaders finished the season 20-1 and were set to play the undefeated #2 Koalas of Ursuline in the state playoffs. The Koalas would have been heavily favored, the Champs of Section 1 usually are, but the games are played on the court and not on paper, so what if?
The Crusaders started the season with four new faces - Layla Green, Kelsey O’Brian, Ella Natal and Olivia Shippee to go along with their returning core of ten veterans. On the inside they had Kathleen Silverstein, Savannah Paul and the most dominant big in the section Jamie Waldron. On the out side there was Alex Sperling, Kiley Metcalf, Alexis Deleo, Emily Harwood, Cassie Hiner and the best one two combo in the Section in Toni and Taylor Neely.
At least on paper this looked like this might be the year the team made a run at the title. The team got off to a great start and won their first 14 games before they lost to eventual Section 9 Class A Champion Cornwall team.
During the first 14 games their were signs of brilliance. They beat two Section 1 teams to start the season and then won the next three games by an average of 40 points.
The next four games were closer but the team seemed to be able turn it on when they needed to and come out with a win.
They had reached the half way point in their season were undefeated and had to travel to Valley Central to face the Vikings for a second time. They had beaten the Vikings at home earlier in the season but the 10-point margin of victory was not a real true indication of how close the game was. This second meeting had a real playoff atmosphere and the crowded gym was electric as the Crusaders came out with a 40-37 victory.
This Crusader team was real, they then won three more games in a row before stumbling at Cornwall on a Tuesday night. The team rebounded after the loss and won their last five games in a row finishing their regular season with a 19-1 record.
The team was seated # 1 in the AA Division where they had to face the Valley Central Vikings for a third time this season in the Section 9 title.
In the finale the Crusaders earned their sixth Section Tttle in the last eight years in a very tough, come-from-behind victory.
But like a story without an end we can only guess or say what if?