Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

LEESBURG -- Go ahead and try to stop Lindsey Crawford. Double-team her. Triple-team her. Surround her. Build a zone and have everyone collapse on Crawford -- Lee County's version of NBA star Tim Duncan.

It just might not work.

Exhibit A: By half-time of Friday's game against Seminole, Crawford had scored only two points.

And it didn't matter. Herald No. 4 Lee County led 28-15, and easily beat No. 5 Seminole, 62-38, in a game everyone in Southwest Georgia thought would be much closer. The problem for Seminole?

"Lindsey can do so many things well,'' Lee County coach Fran McPherson said. "She's going to make someone a heck of a college basketball player, because she is so versatile.''

Like Duncan, Crawford seems to be not only the center for her team, but the center of attention. Everything goes through her, and when Seminole dropped everyone inside to stop her, she found teammate after teammate.

"She's our most valuable player, because she helps us run all the plays and she gets the ball to everyone,'' said Lee County guard Kelly Polk. "Everyone knows about her, and all the other coaches talk about her.''

Crawford scored her first basket in the second minute of the game to give Lee County a 4-0 lead, and didn't score again until midway in the third quarter when she took over on the offensive end, putting together a personal nine-point run that lifted Lee County from a 39-20 lead to a 48-20. She finished with 11 points in the third quarter and ended the night with 19 points, eight rebounds and had one of Lee County's five blocked shots.

"They over-played me early in the game,'' said Crawford of Seminole's bundle defense. "But we have good players and it gave them a chance to take over. When they realized everyone on this team could score (by halftime) they (relaxed the pressure on me). I ended up getting more shots in the second half.''

This game -- a rematch from earlier this year won by Lee, 46-44 -- was over in the opening minutes. Lee County (14-3) ripped off a 19-4 run to start the game, shocking Seminole (6-3). The Lady Indians have lost just three times and two of those were to Lee County.

"We knew they wanted to get revenge because we beat them by only five points the last time,'' Polk said. "We knew we had to be ready. We have been talking about this game all week. We wanted to get off to a good start.''

Good start? Lee County forced a dozen turnovers in the first quarter and went right to work inside, beating Seminole at its own game.

DaQuenna Moore out-played everyone in the paint with six quick points, and finished the night with 20 points, 11 rebounds and one blocked shot.

"I was pretty excited before the game,'' Moore said. "I knew they were going to come out hyped up for this game because we beat them last time. We knew we had to be ready.''

McPherson was concerned about the inside game, because of Seminole's Carrie Washington, who is one of the top post players in this part of the state.

"They have so much tradition at Seminole,'' McPherson said. "They have about a gazillion basketball banners hanging in the gym and he (Seminole coach Jesse McLeod) does such a good job. And I was worried about (Washington). She just takes over a game. But we totally beat them on the boards, and flat-out took it to them.''

Washington was never a factor, finishing with 11 points, and Lee County out-rebounded the Lady Indians 33-24. Seminole guard Shavonte Smith, who hit four 3s, led the Lady Indians with 17 points, including 15 in the second half.

When you defend a great post player like Washington and when you hold a team like Seminole to under 40 points, that says something," McPherson said.

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SEMINOLE BOYS 54, LEE COUNTY 44:

Anyone with a spare pair of jumper cables can lend them to the Seminole boys basketball team, a group that's about as sluggish as a dead car battery on a cold winter's morning.

"How about that fast start we had?'' joked Seminole coach Kevin Godwin after his team scored just two points in the first quarter against Lee County. It was 12-2 before Seminole started moving.

"You can't beat anybody scoring two points,'' Godwin said. "But it really doesn't surprise me. We've had a lot of slow starts this season.''

Seminole closed the gap to 23-19 by halftime, and took its first lead -- 36-35 -- when Derek Scott hit a free throw with 47 seconds left in the third quarter.

Two things happened: Seminole's Taiwan Donalson took over in the second half and finished with 21 points, and Seminole found a way to slow down Lee County's Samford Seay, who scored just four points in the second half to finish with 14.

With the pressure falling on Seay, Lee County's Jakoby Mallory kept the Trojans in the game. He scored Lee County's first 11 points in their 13-point third quarter and went on to finish with 21 points.

Seminole sprinted through the final quarter, outscoring Lee County (2-10), 16-7 to put the game away.

Now if the Indians could just find a way to start fast.

"I don't know what it is,'' Donalson said. "Maybe it's having a big head. But we have to do something about it. Maybe get to the gym earlier. I don't know. We've got the talent, but the record doesn't show it.''