CARSON CITY — For the first and last time in Carson City-Crystal’s girls basketball history, the Eagles are co-champions of the Central Michigan Athletic Conference.
The Eagles beat the Fowler Eagles 38-21 without the services of Sara Schneider, who didn’t play until there was less than a minute left. Even then she just held the ball and ran out the clock with the student section chanting her name.
“It feels great,” CC-Crystal coach Larry Farmer said of sharing the conference title with Laingsburg. “From where we were to where we’re at now, it’s about as satisfying a feeling I’ve had in my coaching career.”
Despite the fact she couldn’t play, Schneider spent most of the game on the bench after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. Farmer was glad to see the team win.
“The girls really rallied and played well,” he said. “That’s what team is. When one member of the team gets hurt the rest of them pick them up. Not that we don’t want to have her, but they lift her up.”
The game was one-sided from the start, as CC-Crystal (16-4, 15-3) jumped out to a 16-2 lead in the first 7:32 of the period.
“I think the No. 1 reason we won the league is our defense,” Farmer said. “We defended and our shooting is come and gone, but whether we are shooting well or not we’re going to give it our best defensive effort. We’ve allowed 27 points per game all season. I think that’s how you win championships.”
The defense continued as CC-Crystal held Fowler (5-15, 5-13) to just one field goal in the first part of the second quarter. CC-Crystal rattled off eight points in that span to lead 24-11 at the half.
“They cover ground, they make it hard for teams to run their offense and they work their butts off,” Farmer said.
In the end, Fowler finished with just eight field goals and two free throws for their 21 points.
CC-Crystal was led by Mackenzie Geister, who scored 12 points, all of which came in the paint.
“She’s really picked it up in Sara’s absence offensively,” Farmer said. “Everybody’s done a little bit better to make up for an all-league senior guard going out.”
The best any Fowler player could do was Kara Schafer with six.
Next up for CC-Crystal is the Class C district tournament in Vestaburg. They will face the winner of Beal City and Ithaca on Wednesday.
Farmer wasn’t about to think about the tournament just yet.
“This is an 18-game league so every night is a league contest,” he said. “I’m not even thinking about districts for a while. I’m just going to enjoy the first one (conference title) since 1983.”
It will also be the last, as CC-Crystal is going to the Mid-State Activites Conference next school year.
CC-Crystal 38, Fowler 21
Fowler 5 6 5 5 — 21
CC-Crystal 16 8 12 2 — 38
FOWLER 5-15 (5-13) – Goerge 1 0-0 3, K.Feldpausch 1 1-2 3, Klein 1 0-0 2, Schafer 2 1-2 6, E.Thelen 1 0-0 2, O.Feldpausch 2 0-0 5. Totals: 8 2-4 21. Three-point goals: Goerge, Schafer, O.Feldpausch. Total fouls: 7. Fouled out: none.
CC-CRYSTAL (16-4, 15-3) – Seals 3 0-0 6, Ward 3 0-0 6, Donahue 1 1-2 4, Duflo 2 0-2 4, Christiansen 2 0-2 4, H.Geister 0 2-2 2, M.Geister 6 0-2 12. Totals: 17 3-10 38. Three-point goals: Donahue. Total fouls: 8. Fouled out: none.