It was a night of nail-biting for both the Crusaders and the Rockets as they met up again following their face off just before Christmas of last year. Earlier in the day, the junior varsity girls beat the Rockets 58-47, while the junior varsity boys lost to the Rockets 58-44. The c-team boys, however, managed their own win of 51-46 over the Rockets.
The Crusader varsity girls got off to a great start when Shayland French quickly got the first points on the board. Emma Cunningham swiftly responded for the Rockets. It was the Crusaders, though, who were the fastest out of the gate, thanks to a three-pointer, that gave them a decisive early lead of 7-1 over the Rockets with 5:00 remaining in the first quarter.
Things quickly began to get down and dirty as the fouls were flying fast and furious for the Crusaders.  At this point, they were racking them up 3-1 over the Rockets.
Taylor Meyer made both of her shots from the free-throw line, making the score 9-3 with 2:43 remaining in the quarter. In response, the Rockets sank a three-pointer, making it 9-6. Alexus Clift made her first three-pointer for the Crusaders, followed by another from the Rockets, making it a very competitive score of 12-9.
As the clock began to run out in the first quarter, Meyer delivered another three-pointer for the Crusaders, but the Rockets managed a last moment basket before the buzzer, making the score 15-11.
Neither side was letting up as the second quarter got underway. Shayland French made her shots from the free-throw line, and Taylor Meyer jumped in with another three-pointer, making the score 20-11.
The Rockets, however, were just getting started, scoring another two points to bring it 20-13, but Shayland French made another three pointer to increase their lead to a ten-point spread of 23-13. Rylee Rusk jumped into action with two points for the Crusaders, increasing the lead to 25-13.
Although the Crusaders held a twelve-point lead, they were still fouling at an alarming rate of 7-3 over the Rockets.
The Rockets, however, were not going to call it quits. Danyel Yardley sank in both of her shots from the free-throw line, making it 27-17. Rylee Rusk came back with one of her shots from the free-throw line, but the Rockets countered with points of their own. With 3:00 remaining, the Rockets were down nine 28-19.
Emily Adler made both of her shots from the free-throw line, making it 28-21. With 2:30 remaining in the half, they had now tightened the score to five points at 28-23.
Seeing the Rockets coming up fast in the rear view mirror, Gracie Fink got her own points on the board, making it 30-23, but the Rockets clearly were kicking things into high gear when Emma Cunningham made another two points of her own.
Mekenna Adams delivered a three-pointer for the Crusaders, but the Rockets quickly returned fire with two more. As the clock ran out on the first half and the dust began to settle, the score stood at 33-28 with Wellington maintaining their shaky lead.
Coming back out onto the court, it was clear neither team was going to sit back and coast. Taylor Meyer swiftly delivered a three-pointer for the Crusaders, hoping to pull away from the Rockets. The Rockets, however, weren’t blinking when Emily Adler delivered another two points. With 6:44 remaining in the third quarter, thanks to a basket from Avery Rusk, the score stood at 37-30.
It was an effort from Taylor Meyer that helped the Crusaders briefly retake the lead over the Rockets, making it 41-40. For the Rockets, though, this was a fight they were not even thinking of slowing down for. They retook the lead yet again to make it 42-41 with only a minute remaining. The crowd was on edge as they could not believe what they were seeing. At one time the Rockets had been down twelve points. But, as the clock ran down to zero and the buzzer was heard, the score was tied 44-44 with the Crusaders.
It was clear going into the final stretch that this was going to go down to the wire. Avery Rusk got in with a three-pointer, hoping to finally pull away from the Rockets at 47-44. With 6:30 remaining, though, the Rockets managed to close it again just behind the Crusaders with 47-46.
With 4:37 left in the game, the Rockets briefly regained the lead yet again with 48-47. Shayland French managed to tie it from the free-throw line for the Crusaders and soon Wellington briefly retook the lead with 49-48. It was a three-pointer from Emily Adler for the Rockets that made it 51-49. People were truly on the edges of their seats. The game truly could go either way.
There was plenty of tussling and back and forth with the ball until Avery Rusk managed to once again tie it for the Crusaders at 51-51. It was an effort once again by Emily Adler for the Rockets that had them retake the lead one final time, bringing it to 52-51.
With 1:53 remaining in the game, the Rockets held a lead over the Crusaders of 54-51. Despite the down to the wire efforts of the Crusaders to retake the lead, they just could not outdo the Rockets. They would ultimately come up short against the Rockets 58-55.
VARSITY GIRLS
RHHS 58 WHS 55 (8-8) (3-3)
Taylor Meyer 18, Avery Rusk 11, Shayland French 9, Rylee Rusk 9, Lexi Clift 3, Mekenna Adams 3, Gracie Fink 2