Last year Crane won just 13 games. One year later the Lady Pirates find themselves in position to bring home the first state championship in program history. Jeremy Mullins has just one senior on his roster.
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Why Disney should make a movie – Think Dennis Quaid in “The Rookie”. The Lady Pirates have completely turned it around from last year, winning 20 straight to land themselves in the title game. Coming into the season we all thought that Class 2 – District 12 would have a Final Four team, however most thought it would be Marionville returning; not Crane, who beat the Lady Comets by 29 in the district final. Crane seems like a team of destiny following a close call in Sectionals and Riley Isreal’s “shot heard ‘round the world” to lift Crane over Crocker. Throw in the fact that Coach Mullins is a Crane grad and you’ve got a nice screenplay.
Who gets the lead role – Cast of Sesame Street: Jim Henson’s crew of Muppets personifies the Lady Pirates well. Crane is young (hence the cast of a children’s show), however they are also deep and balanced. Like the show, you never know which Crane player will steal the game for the Lady Pirates. Wise and experienced senior Maggie McMenamy (12 PPG, 7 RPG) would be Big Bird. Freshman Emma Lander (11 PPG, 6 RPG) would be the Cookie Monster because of her work on the offensive glass. The Lady Pirates routinely play a handful of freshmen, with Lander being joined by 5-foot-7 guard Lexie Vaught (Elmo) in the starting lineup. Junior guards Allie Hagler and Riley Isreal have no problem taking, and making big shots (Bert and Ernie).
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Who plays the villain – Rachel Steinhoff: The junior guard accounts for more than one-third of the Shamrocks’ offense with her 15 PPG. In a 49-33 semifinal win over Marceline Steinoff, who has already broken the 1,000 point barrier, tallied 21 points to go along with seven rebounds. New Haven isn’t an explosive offensive team, so it will be essential for Crane to keep Steinhoff in check.
How the movie ends – Although New Haven nearly had as many losses as the other three Final Four teams combined, that doesn’t make the Shamrocks any less qualified to be in Columbia. New Haven played a brutal which includes a runaway win over Class 1 finalist Chamois, and losses to Sullivan and St. James; both of whom are playoff teams in Class 4 and 3 respectively. It will be important for Crane to push the pace offensively as they’ve done all year. Getting New Haven into a shootout bodes well for the deep and high-scoring Lady Pirates. The Shamrocks don’t have the depth or the weapons to run with Crane. It will also be important for the Lady Pirates to assert themselves on the offensive glass as they did in the semifinals against Skyline where they pulled down 18 offensive boards.