By Bradey King
The inaugural Triple Crown Basketball NIC kicked off Saturday at the Plano Sports Authority 2 in Plano, Texas. Six teams took to the hardwood from Texas, Missouri, Colorado and Alabama.
The standout squad was the All AL Roadrunners. The team went undefeated on the day, taking down Lady BIQ 2020, 45-21, and later beating Houston Flight Elite, 78-20.
The Roadrunners outscored and outsized their opponents all day. However, no matter the score, their energy and hustle remained at a high level throughout the entirety of both games, showcasing maturity, coach-ability and pure love for the game.
“My biggest rule is if you don’t play defense then you have to come sit by me. They should always play as if it’s tied up. They all abide because they want to play,” said head coach Beverly Kirk. “You can have the height but if you don’t have any skills it doesn’t do any good, so I really focus on developing their skills. I teach them to be aggressive and always go hard to the basket because at some point we’ll be the smaller team.”
The day’s roster was made up of 10 players, all 2019 graduates. Impressively, all the players scored at least two points in both games. They shared the ball and every single player did their part to contribute in one category or another. Taylor Henderson led the way in Game 2 with 17 points and also grabbed five boards.
“We are so blessed because most of our girls live in Birmingham, so we have the ability to practice twice a week. Those things we need to develop, we have the opportunity and time to develop them,” added Kirk.
The girls have been playing together for several years, which is a rarity in club sports nowadays. Their team chemistry was extremely obvious as the day went on. A few players, including Henderson and Terri Crawford have been playing together since elementary school.
“Chemistry goes a long way. If you’re good buds off the court, it makes you so much better on the court. Nothing can come between y’all,” said Henderson.
“We know each others talents and style of play so we know to look for. It just makes it more fun,” added Crawford.
For the girls looking to play at the collegiate level in the near future, this 2019 summer is a big deal for these soon-to-be high school seniors. Elite tournaments such as the TC NIC provide an opportunity for college exposure as well as a time to work on skills while facing varying levels of competition.
“We’re working on getting better and preparing ourselves for college. Here, we’re exposed to some of the girls we’ll compete with at the next level,” said Crawford.
The Alabama squad will bounce back onto the court on Sunday morning with hopes of remaining undefeated through bracket play and ultimately claiming the Triple Crown NIC title.