Plenty of star power in Atlantic, Father Lopez game
Green Wave outplays Sharks in matchup of top girls teams
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
In a much-anticipated girls high school basketball matchup, Father Lopez beat Atlantic 68-55 at the ICI Center at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach on Monday.
Both teams entered the game ranked in the state polls and both are expected to make state title runs in their respective classifications.
The game featured plenty of star power with four Division I signees in Atlantic High School’s Ronni Williams (University of Florida), along with Lopez’ Shannon Crenshaw (George Washington University), Ashley Folsom (Southern Miss) and Simone Brown (Liberty).
Lopez played better team basketball against a more athletic Atlantic squad.
Flu slows down Williams
The Lopez Green Wave got plenty of production from the outside and inside combo of Crenshaw – who scored 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists – while Folsom tallied 25 points with nine boards, five assists and two blocks.
Williams had 18 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and four blocks for the Sharks but had only six points in the second half.
She was sick with the flu over the past couple of days and collapsed shortly after the game.
Williams was taken to the hospital as a precautionary matter after campus personnel and a doctor tended to her and deemed her to be fine.
Coach Butts: Team lost composure
Father Lopez (9-1) ended the third quarter with a 14-2 run to lead 50-42.
“We made some bad plays in the first half, especially with the turnovers. We had to take our time and not force it. We wanted to play focused and execute,” responded Brad Ridenour, Father Lopez’s head coach.
Atlantic (6-2) scored just 21 second-half points but did take a four-point lead to start the third quarter.
“We just lost our composure. I think that we got caught up in this venue and crowd. They did a good job and capitalized on our mistakes,” said George Butts, Atlantic’s head coach.
The Sharks got within 52-48 in the final period before the Green Wave finished the game with a 16-7 run.
Exciting first half
The first half was an exciting offensive show by both teams, which resulted in a 34-34 tie at halftime.
“We wanted to run and we did that in the first half, but then we stopped and went to individual play. I wasn’t happy with that,” stated Butts.
“Their press really hurt us and made us turn the ball over in the first half. They tried to wear us out in the first half with their pressure defense, but we felt that we could wear them out. We really worked on getting into shape in the off season,” said Ridenour.
Brown also posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards while April Panaggio added nine critical points for Lopez.
Destiny Woodard added 17 points with six boards and five steals while Shantazia Howard scored 12 points for Atlantic.
Another purpose of playing the game was to boost girls’ high school hoops in the area.
Ridenour commented, “We feel like the sport needs to be stronger. We want girls not to give up on the sport so quickly. I think we had five terrific players on the court and hopefully this inspires some girls to commit to the sport.”
“I thought it was an awesome venue and a great atmosphere. I hope that some of these younger girls will want to keep this going and bring more to basketball in this area,” added Butts.
Embry Riddle allowed the use of its facility free of charge to Atlantic, which was the home team.
Prep sports seven basketball rankings
Girls: 1. Father Lopez (9-1), 2. DeLand (8-0), 3. Atlantic (6-2), 4. Flagler Palm Coast (6-2), 5. Seabreeze (6-2), 6. Trinity (6-4), 7. Warner (4-1).
Boys: 1. Father Lopez (4-1), 2. New Smyrna (7-1), 3. Flagler Palm Coast (5-4), 4. Mainland (3-3), 5. DeLand (4-2), 6. Pine Ridge (4-2), 7. Trinity (3-2). Others: Halifax (4-2), University (4-3), Atlantic (3-3), Spruce Creek (2-3).
Note: The records are as of Dec. 11 at noon.