Perhaps the biggest shot in a record-breaking season, Dundee-Crown junior forward Alyssa Crenshaw confidently stepped up and swished in an 18-foot jumper with about 1:30 left to give her team the lead for good in a 43-37 victory over Barrington in the Class 4A Huntley Sectional final.
The sectional championship was the team's first since 2003 and gave the Chargers a record 29th victory.
Crenshaw, known for her physical style of play, tough defense and interior skills, displayed a calm, cool and clutch way about her throughout the season and postseason as D-C's top option.
The 5-foot-10 Crenshaw, starting in her third year on varsity, faced double- and even triple-teams and still led D-C with 15.2 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals a game, recording 19 double-doubles in 35 games.
Crenshaw shot 50.4% from the field (196 of 389) and 78.3% (137 of 175) from the free-throw line, and led the Chargers in scoring in every game of the postseason. For her performance this season, Crenshaw was voted the 2020 Northwest Herald Girls Basketball Player of the Year, as chosen by the sports staff.
Crenshaw is the first D-C player to win the award since Melissa Tarrant in 2001. Richmond-Burton's Peyton Bannon, who led the area in scoring with 22.1 points a game, was also seriously considered. Bannon was named the Kishwaukee River Conference Girls Basketball Player of the Year and became the program's all-time leading scorer as a senior.
Crenshaw recently spoke with the Northwest Herald about her favorite memories from the 2020 season, the Chargers' best bench celebration, cheerleading and more.
What’s your favorite thing about playing basketball?
Crenshaw: Getting to know all of your teammates and having a team culture. The bench is always ready to go and cheering for the floor, and the floor is there for the bench when they go in.
Who is the most difficult one-on-one matchup in the Fox Valley Conference?
Crenshaw: Burlington Central. (Junior point guard) Elana Wells is an all-around great player.
Do you have any rituals or superstitions before you play?
Crenshaw: I always listen to the same music, wear the same shoes, and I have the same routine of what I eat before a game. (Junior) Gianine (Boado) always has to have at least two Reese’s before a game.
What’s your favorite movie and TV show?
Crenshaw: “Coach Carter,” and “All American.”
What scares you the most?
Crenshaw: Stepping out of my comfort zone. Flying on an airplane.
Who are your biggest influences?
Crenshaw: My parents, Cory and Tim, (D-C) coach (Sarah) Miller, assistant coach (James) Lopez, and AAU Illinois Hoop Dreams coach Paul Collins.
Who is your funniest teammate?
Crenshaw: Erica Sanchez. She just gets everyone in a good mood. She always comes up with different TikToks and she has an answer to everything.
Which teammate inspires you?
Crenshaw: Gianine Boado. When she tore her ACL against Burlington Central, she didn’t want her season to be over. After she got hurt, she went back in. It showed that fight and she wasn't going to quit.
What is a place you’ve never been to but would like to visit?
Which sport are you not any good at?
Crenshaw: Softball. I always miss the ball. I can never hit it.
What is your favorite professional sports team?
Crenshaw: Golden State Warriors.
Who is your favorite professional basketball player?
Crenshaw: (Golden State Warriors guard)Steph Curry because he’s not a selfish player. He’s an all-around team player. He’s always setting up his teammates.
What’s your favorite pregame meal?
Crenshaw: Jimmy John’s. I get a Turkey Tom and the original chips.
What’s something people wouldn’t know about you?
Crenshaw: I was a cheerleader for 10 years.
What was your favorite game from this season?
Crenshaw: The sectional championship game against Barrington. We played a really good game and it was a fun experience to get that far.
Your bench was known for some creative celebrations. Which one was your favorite?
Crenshaw: The row boat.
If you’re making the pregame music playlist, what are you putting on it?
Crenshaw: Rap and country.
What is your favorite cereal?
Crenshaw: Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
What was your favorite memory from this season?
Crenshaw: Going to UCLA over the summer. We really came together as a team, and it was a really fun experience.
What will you remember most about the seniors?
Crenshaw: They’re always encouraging and never gave up. Even if we’re losing by 10 or 20 points, they just never give up, and they all motivate us and help get us through any tough times.
What food can you just not stand to eat?
What would be your ideal vacation?
Crenshaw: Anywhere that has a beach.
What are you looking forward to most next season?
Crenshaw: Making new memories. I want to win games and stuff, but I really want to make memories with my team.