Kassey Marcus scored 21 points to lead Crawford, which has posted a 17-4 record this season despite Friday's 64-63 setback to Coronado.
An old John Wooden quote is plastered across the back wall inside Crawford High’s gymnasium.
Located under various CIF San Diego Section championship banners, the Woodenism reads: “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
Since 2008, the quote hasn’t had much meaning for Crawford. The basketball program averaged 5.4 wins and 17.8 losses during that five-year span, accumulating 27 total victories to 89 defeats.
This season, however, has been different — despite a 64-63 setback to Coronado on Friday night.
“We are committed to working,” said senior guard Cameron Marcus. “Our guys want to win, so we are doing whatever it takes, whatever coach tells us.”
That means two things: hustling every possession of the game and consistently boxing out much bigger, stronger opponents. The simple blueprint produces opportunities for the smaller, quicker Colts team, much like the game against Coronado (10-8, 4-1 Central League).
Trailing by 14 points, the Colts (17-4, 3-2) fought back by converting the Islanders’ misses into easy, transition baskets. A Kassey Marcus fastbreak layup gave Crawford a one-point lead with eight seconds remaining in the game.
But Marcus’ bucket proved to be in vain. Following a timeout, Coronado drove down the court for a game-winning basket by Mario Acosta.
“We learned some lessons tonight,” said Colts coach Jake Medcalf. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the victory, but we fought back. The loss, tonight, makes us better.”
Marcus scored 21 points. Dylan Gouthro led Coronado with 18.
Medcalf said discipline and unselfish basketball are the reasons for the Colts’ success.
In previous seasons, players refused to buy in.
“This summer, we went 3-14 in some of the basketball camps we participated in,” Medcalf said. “I came into the gym and said, look, you have two options: you can play my way or continue playing your way. Your way is obviously not working because you’re playing selfish basketball. You’re yelling at each other. I’m going to be in the locker room. If you’re ready, come.”
One by one, the players joined Medcalf in the locker room, relinquishing control and listening to their coach.
“From that moment, we went 30-6, I believe,” Medcalf said. “That was probably the turning point in the season.”
The players didn’t have any other options.
“We are a family and we play that way,” Marcus said. “And the success has followed. We stay humble and approach every game like we’re underdogs.”
Yet Crawford is in contention for a league title and a playoff berth.
“They’re a great group of kids,” Medcalf said. “Our success is solely because of them.”