Johnson, Crittenden embracing rolesPublished 12:00am Saturday, January 11, 2014
Andalusia seniors Laticia Crittenden and D’Ashia Johnson are fighters, and both have shown their prowess on the court so far this season.
Crittenden and Johnson spent the better part of their freshman and sophomore years on the bench watching former AHS stand outs Alexis Horton, Shi’Amber Townsend, Alectricia Barnes and Alison Daniels rule the court and help take the Lady Bulldogs to a state championship berth during their 2011-12 season.
Now that they are seniors, Crittenden and Johnson said they’ve taken what they learned during their early years and have applied it on the court.
“They always fought back,” Johnson said about her former teammates. “They never gave up.”
Crittenden said during state championship, she remembers a time when the older players had the mind set that they knew they were going to win the game.
“I know it kind of hurt them when we lost,” Crittenden said.
Both have grown up after their sophomore year, AHS coach Brad Garner said. Garner was an assistant coach during last season, which was their junior year, and added that Crittenden played her best ball during Red Level’s Christmas tournament in December.
“I think she’s played some of the best basketbal that she’s played,” the coach said after his team beat W.S. Neal for a third place finish. “D’Ashia has been consistent for us all year. Not necessarily in scoring, but she always draws the toughest guards.
“Both of those have come full circle,” he said. “I think they’ve done a good job of handling it.”
And their jobs on the court this season have been to lead by example and have a good attitude, Crittenden and Johnson said.
Andalusia played a close game with Hillcrest-Evergreen the other night, falling 33-30 to the Lady Jaguars to start area play 0-1.
Despite the slow start, the seniors said they believe they can compete in area, want to get past the first round and even make it to the South Regional Tournament in Dothan.
“We really want state, but we really want to not lose the first round like we did last year (to Monroe County),” Crittenden said.
Like most basketball players, Crittenden grew up playing basketball as the sport has been a big part of her family.
“Most of my family played basketball, and I’ve just learned to love it,” she said.
For Johnson, the love of playing basketball started in middle school.
“My granny (Mamie Johnson) just pushed me and told me to stay calm and focused on the game,” Johnson said. “I just started liking it then. I kind of grew up around it, too.”
Johnson said the seniors’ season goals are still intact.
“I really just want to get farther than we have,” she said. “This is our last year playing together, with us being seniors. At least we really want to make it to regionals and prove a point because everybody was doubting us this year.”
Nobody will doubt how hard they will fight for the rest of their seasons.
Crittenden is the daughter of Elizabeth Crawford of Andalusia, and Rex Crittenden of the Straughn Community. Johnson is the daughter of Tycious Williams Jeffery Williams of Andalusia.