|Crouch contributes to North victory in All-Star game|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
July 9, 2004 -- FORT WORTH - When the North-South All-Star game started Thursday night, Sulphur Springs standout Brandi Crouch found herself in an unusual uniform and in an unusual position. On the bench.
That didn't deter her from helping the North team win, 63-58, as she hit the first three-pointer she attempted and finished with four points, two rebounds, an assist and no turnovers in about 10 minutes of action.
The 4A-5A All-Star game brings together 12 senior girls on each team picked by the Texas Girls Coaches Association selection committee. Played at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on the campus of TCU, it was the final competition of the TGCA clinic.
"I didn't get in until third string," Crouch said after the game. "I didn't know what to think about that. I'm not used to it, but I came in and tried to do the best I can."
Crouch entered the game with 5:47 to play in the first half and knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the circle just 17 seconds later. She followed that up by getting fouled while gathering in a defensive rebound at the 5:13 mark and hit the front end of the one-and-one to score four consecutive points and put the North team ahead, 22-19. She finished 1-for-4 from the field.
She re-entered the game at the 13:23 mark of the second half with her team trailing, 39-32. She contributed an assist during her three-minutes on the court and helped pull the North to within 3 points, 40-37.
"We were really wanting to win, because the other team was being cocky about it all week," Crouch said. "They were bigger than us and more athletic, but I guess we had more discipline. We really wanted to win."
The North, led by game MVP Shannon Stueber of The Colony who is headed to the University of Southern Mississippi, closed out the game on a 6-1 run.
Crouch, Sulphur Springs' record-holder in 3-pointers, immediately left Fort Worth to travel to College Station for a big AAU tournament. She was supported at the All-Star game by family, classmates Courtney Aguilar and Christi Dixon, SSHS head coach Carin Hoffman, and other friends.
"It's great for her to play in this," Hoffman said. "She always has a lot of support wherever she goes. People like to rally around her."
Crouch said the entire All-Star week was more than just an honor. It was also a learning experience. The girls practiced three times, and she said the practices were more than merely run-throughs.
"It was an awesome experience. I thought we were going to come in here and maybe practice one or twice, but we went through drills and we had to go hard. We were well-coached and that helped us out in the end," she said of coaches Jim Wilcoxson of Canyon Randall and Dale Blaut of Amarillo.
"It was definitely a learning experience. Our coaches knew so much about basketball, and that's what I'll remember."