BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
If you're a basketball fan, there might not be a team around more fun to watch than the Lady Sandcrabs.
But I know there are fans out there who have an aversion to girls hoops. Maybe it's the constant hustle they don't like. Maybe, to them, that kind of play seems pandering to the fans.
But to me, it's just flat-out, hard-nosed basketball. Take Alijea Russell, for example, and the time she ran through some cheerleaders and into the bleachers to save a ball going out of bounds. Or when she dove and collided with the bleachers, then got up, smiled and walked back onto the court unphased.
And that’s just from Seabreeze’s past two games.
If that doesn't do it for you, there's the team's brand of run-and-gun offense that would make Paul Westhead proud. If you don’t know who Westhead is, watch ESPN’s "Guru of Go" documentary. The title pretty much says it all.
Coach James Johnson uses full-court and half-court presses to create organized chaos with, more often than not, his players taking advantage of their opponents' mistakes with a steal and an easy layup.
I can’t think of many things more demoralizing for a team than giving up a basket, then trying to inbound the ball and answer on the other end, only to have Shakaria Scantling, Zhamiria Bell, Tierra Wilmore and the rest waiting for you to waltz into their trap.
And it happens on a pretty regular basis. It’s basically Seabreeze’s base offensive set. “Our defense is our offense,” Johnson told me earlier this season.
But the most fun part of watching the Lady Sandcrabs play? For me, it's waiting for Johnson to put on the press — because they never start the game in maniac-mode.
It’s almost as if Johnson wants opponents to think, for just a few minutes, that their night might be easier and more relaxed than they expected.
But, invariably, it’s only a matter of time before some unsuspecting guard looks up the court and sees five players just begging for her to try something as stupid as dribbling through the press.
But, I know, it's only girls basketball, right? Who really wants to watch all that?