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Madison's Crozier hopes to put All-Star experience to good use
, Courier Sportswriter
Thursday, June 12, 2014 11:00 AM
DOUBLE TEAM: Madison’s Olivia Crozier attempts to pass out of the double team of Lawrence North’s Destiny Washington (6) and Fort Wayne Canterbury’s Kendell Fincher during the Senior-Junior All-Star game on Wednesday at Columbus North. Crozier (below) had four rebounds and a steal in the Junior’s 73-71 loss. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
COLUMBUS - Olivia Crozier's second all-star experience wasn't nearly as productive as her first, but the Madison senior was still happy with her performance overall.
Crozier had four rebounds and a steal but failed to score in the Junior's 73-71 loss to the Seniors in the Indiana All-Star series at Columbus North High School on Wednesday. The 6-foot-1 Crozier took only one shot, missing a short jumper from the left side of the rim.
It was far different from the eight-point, eight-rebound performance she put together on Saturday against Kentucky's junior all-stars. But she also played fewer minutes and sat much of the first half.
"I thought I could have done a lot better," said Crozier, who has committed to play in college at Southeast Missouri State. "There were a couple of things that I did wrong that I could have done better to help me score, but I worked on my rebounding and I played defense as much as I could."
The Juniors outrebounded the Seniors 63-46 but other than Bedford North Lawrence's Jenna Allen, no other Junior had more than five rebounds.
But it was in scoring where all of the Juniors struggled. Two days after the underclassmen whipped their senior counterparts, the Juniors shot just 28.4 percent (21-of-74) from the floor. Pike's Brittney Ward and Columbus North's Ali Patberg each hit five shots and nobody else had more than two.
Crozier was not immune to the shooting bug. Her one miss hit off the rim and she never had another chance to fire away. She took 10 shots against Kentucky on Saturday.
"There was one point when I got the ball and I was like, 'OK, this is my post move that I always make,'" Crozier said with a smile. "And then they called a foul. And I didn't even get fouled. It was like, really?"
Scoring aside, Crozier was happy with her two-week stint with the All-Star team. She feels like she got a chance to showcase herself in front of some of the best coaches in the state, but more importantly, she felt like it's made her a better player.
"I feel like I did OK, but I feel like I could have done a whole lot worse," Crozier said. "I'm just glad that I got to play in this. Just being here is an honor."
Never one to sit back and relax, Crozier is already hard at work on preparing for the upcoming high school season. She has been practicing with the rest of Lady Cubs under new coach Rich Bagienski and will take the things she has learned back to Madison.
The one thing she wants to do is take charge as a senior and continue the level of excellence the program has built over the past four seasons.
"I definitely try to take a huge leadership role on the team, but not to the point that people are like, she's bossy," Crozier said. "But as somebody that they can look up to to find out what they need to do."
The Lady Cubs are already heavily into a summer schedule and are playing games on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Crozier said the work with Bagienski is already paying off.
"The things that I'm seeing are really, really good. We're playing as a team," Crozier said. "Yesterday we played two games where we didn't play as a team and we lost both games to teams we shouldn't have. But I think (the other players) see how if we stick with what Bagienski tells us to do, and not try to do it on our own, we're going to win our games.
"There's a lot to learn on a varsity team. Even me, Bagienski's going to teach me a ton and I know it," she added. "He's going to make me better along with everybody else."
Crozier's senior year will be here before too long and she will begin the process of leading Madison to its fourth sectional title in the past five years. She also hopes that her All-Star experience these past two weeks pays off down the road.
"Hopefully, I impressed them enough that I can be a Senior All-Star next year," she said. "I'm going to work hard for this upcoming season, that's for sure, but my next goal is to get on the Senior All-Star team."
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