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Lady Colts advance to the elite eight

Feb. 16—HENDERSON — On Thursday, the Crossroads Christian Lady Colts beat Albermarle School, 55-44 to advance past the Sweet 16 State Tournament of the 1A Girls NCSAA State Playoffs.

Crossroads saw some unlikely production from players deep in their rotation. Reserves Laci Wade and Allison Owens made their mark in the game early, but Leanna Wimsatt stole the show dropping 20 points to accompany their scoring leader, Elyssa Phillips, who had 25.

"Look, Elyssa's great. She's the GOAT, she's our heart... but those girls can play too," said head coach Ed Moore. "Leanna was tough tonight."

After a nice dime from Elyssa Phillips, Crossroads found themselves up 12-5, but a deep three from Albermarle guard Addison Delosreyes made it 12-8.

After not scoring at all in their conference final loss to Cresset, Abby Taylor had her first shot attempt blocked.

"She ran point guard today," said Ed Moore, satisfied with her performance. "Points are cool, and I love to see people score, but she doesn't get the love she truly deserves."

Taylor, a scrappy backcourt defender alongside Wimsatt, pesters opposing ballhandlers along with her sophomore counterpart. Taylor was diving on loose balls and making extra swing passes to get Phillips her touches. Wimsatt and Taylor both finished with five deflected passes on Thursday.

"[Taylor] brings a lot of energy to the team," said Wimsatt. "She's always there for help defense, and if I can deflect the ball, she can dive on it for a steal. She helps us out bringing energy and aggression — she sets the tone."

Good defense from Grissom in the first quarter earned herself a rebound, and another steal from Wimsatt earned herself another early layup, 17-10.

"Defense, defense" the boys' varsity team chanted in the student section from the bleachers.

Some physical play from Anderson Boyd earned her a deflection, knocking the ball out of bounds. And then Wade saved an offensive possession on a hustle play, throwing the ball off an Albermarle player.

A three from Wade just barely rimmed out, and then a surprising no-call on the contest from Phillips, who sounded like she slapped an arm on her contest saved a bucket — 17-11.

After a bad turnover on the Colts, Madelyn Delosreyes missed a wide-open layup. Boyd then forced a jump ball, 17-13. In a four-point game in the first quarter, the Colts' season hung in the balance.

On the following possession, Wade's shot was blocked but a foul, and three shots followed from the line. She hit two of three and the Colts were up 19-13 at the end of the first quarter, with Albermarle junior Adison Pharr narrowly missing the buzzer beater under the basket at the other end.

In a six-point game coming out of the break, Leanna Wimsatt flung herself into the body of her defender and earned two points from the line, but the Colts were struggling mightily on the defensive glass.

In a tight playoff battle, guards Wimsatt and Taylor manned the back court, while Owens and Phillips roamed the wings with Boyd down low.

An Owens travel gave the ball back to Albermarle in an eight-point game. Pharr nailed a baseline jumper and Ed Moore called a timeout with his team up only two points with 4:14 left in the second quarter.

"The lights went out, rust, I don't know what happened. We haven't played all week. Sometimes it happens, it's part of life," said Moore. "We have to learn from it."

With the Colts down two points at halftime, they banded together in the locker room to turn the game around.

"We came out a little shaky. I think we hit some bumps in the second quarter, but we picked it up in the third," said Wimsatt. "In the locker room, we realized if we don't win, we're going home."

According to Moore, it was a player-led discussion in the locker room at halftime, with Abby Taylor and Mattie Grissom orchestrating the conversation.

"They held each other accountable in that locker room, I didn't have to say too much of anything," said Moore. "Abby Taylor and Mattie Grissom — they felt a certain way."

After some awkward footwork on the catch, Wimsatt started the second half for the Colts lacing a three from outside, 26-21.

"I thought I was going to fall," she said. "But I hit it, so it's fine."

Wimsatt's three sparked an offensive resurgence for Crossroads in the second half, with the Colts cruising to a first-round victory and earning a rematch against Ridgecroft in Ahoskie for a chance at the final four.

If Crossroads can surpass the Rams on Saturday, they will face either Lawrence or Northside in the semi-finals Feb. 20.

"It's going to be a good game, they're a good team," said Moore. "But at this point in time, we better be confident."

STATS Elyssa Phillips (So.) — 25 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST, 4 STL

Leanna Wimsatt (So.) — 20 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 6 STL

Abby Taylor (Jr.) — 0 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL

Mattie Grissom (Jr.) — 7 PTS, 5 REB

Madelyn Delosreyes (Sr.) — 17 PTS, 6 REB, 4 STL, 9 TO

Braelyne Brewer (Jr.) — 14 PTS, 8 REB