Lady Crusaders shoot for state

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 00:01 - Written by Travis Yoesting

Bishop Gorman’s entire season — the culmination of four years for much of the team — comes down to an eight-day stretch.

The Lady Crusaders resume their playoff push Tuesday in a state quarterfinal that could be a de facto championship game.

Gorman, the top-ranked team in TAPPS 4A, takes on No. 2 Lubbock Trinity Christian today at 5:30 p.m. from Eastland High School in the regional basketball playoffs.

The matchup is the second of four potential playoff games for the Lady Crusaders (30-3), who opened the postseason with a 64-37 win on Saturday against Grapevine Faith Christian.

The winner of today’s game moves into the state semifinals on Friday in Mansfield, with the championship game slated for noon Saturday.

With less than a week left in the season, the team’s six seniors are determined to make it last as long as possible.

“Every time we think about it, it blows my mind,” Gorman senior Michelle Obach said. “We’re really focused; we’re just ready to get to the state championship.”

Junior Brooke Lee, the team’s second-leading scorer at 12.0 points per game behind Obach’s 23.2, said she’s motivated to do her best for the seniors, including Obach, Allie Buzbee, Susannah Williams, Danielle Smith, Laura Meads and Hannah Sattler.

“It is very sad,” Lee said. “They’ve worked hard the past four years and I’ve been with them for three. I want them to go out with a bang and I want them to finish well and I want to help them as much as I can.

“It’s hard — they’re all my best friends.”

Lee more than did her part in Saturday’s win, going for 21 points and scoring in every way imaginable. Lee his three 3-pointers, went 4 for 4 from the line, completed a three-point play and even pulled off a rare four-point play.

“She is someone who is an offensive threat and is underestimated because there’s so much focus on Michelle,” Gorman coach Katie Robertson said. “She doesn’t get the credit that she deserves. She doesn’t just stand on the 3-point line and shoot open shots, she creates and that’s why she’s gone to the line so many times this year and that’s why she has good shooting percentage.

“That definitely helps us down the road when everybody’s focusing on Michelle.”

The Lady Crusaders took to the road Monday to diminish the travel on game day, with the drive to Eastland taking more than four hours. Trinity Christian is more accustomed to long trips on game days with most of its district games requiring five-hour drives into the Metroplex.

“It’ll be tough because we’re not used to it, traveling as far as they are,” Obach said. “But I think we’ll adapt well. We’ll step up; it’s a big game.”

Robertson said she doesn’t have to worry about her team’s focus.

“A lot of times I feel like I don’t even have to get on to some of the girls during practice about goofing off because they’ll call each other out,” Robertson said. “They feel accountable for what’s going to happen and it really comes down to them and what they do on the court.

“They just want to make sure that everybody is mentally and physically ready.”

Gorman has been preparing for Trinity Christian (25-10) for a couple weeks, knowing the Lady Lions could be the Lady Crusaders’ toughest opponent in the playoffs.

Trinity Christian was state runner-up last year, losing in the final 75-65 to Houston Westbury Christian, which beat Gorman 82-64 in the semifinals.

The Lady Lions won their area playoff 71-41 over Carrollton Prince of Peace, which the Lady Crusaders defeated 69-45 on Jan. 8.

“They’re a team that scares me because they’re all guards, they shoot a lot of threes and they can be on or they can be off,” Robertson said. “We can’t have a slow start like we’ve had the last two games. We have to win every quarter.

“They play hard. It’s definitely something that we haven’t underestimated. I’ve actually been preparing them for the last couple of weeks.”

The Lady Crusaders went to watch the Lady Lions play a couple weeks ago.

“We know that they’re good,” Obach said. “But we’re No. 1 for a reason and we’re going to bring it to ‘em.”

In 2012 Gorman’s goal was to get to state, with hopes of winning it all. This year, the vocabulary changed, with the objective now to be the last team standing.

After dispatching Faith Christian on Saturday, no more than five days remain in the Lady Crusaders’ season that is quickly winding down.

“It’s crazy the way it’s set up this year with it being all within one week,” Robertson said. “I just hope that we are enjoying our time and really soaking it all in because I feel like it’s just going to happen so fast.”