These Lady Tigers Are Game For Bas­ket­ball

BAS­KET­BALL WAR­RIORS IN THE MAK­ING

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS - By Mark Humphrey

PRAIRIE GROVE — Last sea­son Lar­isha Craw­ford fre­quently passed up shots coach Kevin Froud would have pre­ferred she take

This sea­son the vet­eran Prairie Grove coach im­ple­mented a spe­cific strat­egy to ad­dress the is­sue.

“She’s got the Lar­isha Craw­ford rule, if she passes up a shot that I think you should have took you’ll be pay­ing for it the next day in prac­tice cause I want her shoot­ing it any time she’s open,” Froud said, ad­ding, “That’s like with any of them. If it’s a good shot, and we prac­tice it I don’t care if we shoot it.”

Froud wants to mo­ti­vate Craw­ford to put the ball in the hoop, and she is re­spond­ing to his con­fi­dence in her as a shooter.

“Yeah it does (mo­ti­vate me), es­pe­cially since last year; it’s like now I re­al­ize the shots that I missed and should have taken; and now I see them,” Craw­ford said. “For some rea­son I didn’t last year, and it re­ally helps cause he’s en­cour­aged me in prac­tice, now even in games, but it re­ally helps me a lot.”

Joy Of Bas­ket­ball

Craw­ford’s quick smile lights up the arena when asked to de­scribe the joy of play­ing bas­ket­ball at Prairie Grove.

“Yes, I do (like bas­ket­ball) and I al­ways have,” Craw­ford said. “I re­ally wouldn’t want to play any­where else. This is my home and I think it’s the same for every­body else, too. And it’s not just be­cause it’s a Prairie Grove thing, I love the peo­ple, I love the coaches, I love the fam­ily, and the peo­ple, who come out and sup­port us. It’s just a great en­vi­ron­ment al­to­gether.”

Lady Tiger Legacy

With pro­mo­tion, Craw­ford and class­mate Emily Grant weren’t looked down on as fresh­men com­ing up from ju­nior high dur­ing the 2015-2016 sea­son in which Prairie Grove fin­ished 25-6 and 13-1 in league play. They found them­selves pleas­antly wel­comed by se­nior Tay­lor Hartin, a pro­lific shooter, who along with her twin, Mat­tie, were vi­tal cogs of a Re­gional cham­pion.

“When­ever we were mov­ing up to play for var­sity, it was Tay­lor Hartin and all them, they were re­ally nice,” Craw­ford said. “They ac­cepted us into their group and they talked to us. They didn’t mis­treat us or any­thing, it was just like re­ally nice to see them and when we got to watch them play at state it was just re­ally nice.”

Team Goals

Prairie Grove hasn’t re­turned to the big dance since, some­thing both Craw­ford and Emily Grant want to change.

“To go to state, that’s what we all would want, I would hope so, at least,” Craw­ford said. “That’s what I want, for sure; and I re­ally want to win as much as pos­si­ble.” Grant is in full agree­ment. “I say get the state streak go­ing, bring it back to Prairie Grove,” Grant said. “I know we all grew up watch­ing the girls ride off on the bus and wav­ing good­bye as they went to state; and I think we all, like in our child­hood, we all want to be on that bus and go­ing to state. We want to make it though dis­tricts, have a good, win­ning sea­son; and grow as a team to­gether, win a game at Re­gion­als and find a way to make it back to state.”

MARK HUMPHREY EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Prairie Grove se­nior Lar­isha Craw­ford, shown han­dling the bas­ket­ball against Siloam Springs, is a key player among a six-girl ro­ta­tion for the Lady Tigers.

MARK HUMPHREY EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Prairie Grove se­nior Lar­isha Craw­ford is a re­li­able ball-handler and shooter, who ro­tates among six play­ers see­ing the bulk of play­ing time for the Lady Tiger girls bas­ket­ball team.

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