0

GISA CLASS A FINAL FOUR: Crisp Academy girls crush Curtis Baptist, cruise to third straight state title game

Crisp Academy star and Herald Super 6er Madi Mitchell scored 26 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, made three steals, handed out four assists and blocked two shots Thursday in the Lady Wildcats' GISA Class A Final Four win against Curtis Baptist.

Crisp Academy star and Herald Super 6er Madi Mitchell scored 26 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, made three steals, handed out four assists and blocked two shots Thursday in the Lady Wildcats' GISA Class A Final Four win against Curtis Baptist.

MACON — Madi Mitchell had just scored 26 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, made three steals, handed out four assists and blocked two shots — all in less than three quarters of play — in Crisp Academy’s 64-27 win against Curtis Baptist in the GISA Class A girls state semifinals Thursday afternoon.

This is what she had to say about her extraordinary performance.

“I’ve got to play better. I’ve got to work harder and play even better on Saturday,’’ said Mitchell, who will lead Crisp against Citizens Christian in the state title game Saturday at noon back at the Hawkins Arena at Mercer University, where Mitchell and her Lady Wildcat teammates made it look easy Thursday.

Crisp’s coach Gina Mitchell (that’s Madi’s mother) knows all about winning state titles. Gina, in just her third season, has led the school to the last two Class A crowns, and now the Lady Wildcats will go for the rare three-peat Saturday.

“There’s a lot of pressure,’’ Madi said. “Everybody expects us to win because we have won it twice. But it will be a lot of hard work. It’s the state championship, and we know what that means. Winning three in a row would mean a lot. It would be great.’’

Mitchell, a junior, has led the way for three years, but she said this team is better because the Lady Wildcats have gotten better each year.

“We shoot the ball better and pass the ball better,’’ she said. “All three teams are different and all three are special. We want to win this one for our seniors.’’

There are only two seniors — Jay Jay Yawn and Kendall Wilson — and both are four-year starters who want to go out on top.

“It is very, very, very, very important for us to win on Saturday,’’ Wilson said. “We’ve won it the last two years, and if we didn’t win it my senior year … that would be heartbreaking.’’

Crisp plays with a lot of heart and a lot of togetherness. Mitchell, a 6-foot Herald Super 6er, is the key, but the reason Thursday’s game got out of hand was Crisp’s unrelenting defense.

The Lady Wildcats forced 21 turnovers in the first three quarters before the backups took over in a six-minute mercy rule fourth quarter. Crisp led 48-17 after three, and Mitchell played only about four minutes in the third quarter.

Parker Krause, a freshman who was starting for only the third time because of an injury to the starting point guard, led the defense with five steals and harassed Curtis Baptist from the onset.

“She’s a go-getter,’’ Gina Mitchell said. “She never quits. Our pressure defense was great. We’ve been getting better at it.’’

Crisp got points from all over the court. Maddi Krause, Kara White and Yawn scored eight points each, and Parker Krause dropped in five.

Yawn said the team felt it should be here, but even after wining two state titles, there is always pressure.

“We were confident all year,’’ Yawn said. “We wanted to make sure we got here. It’s a lot of pressure. This (Saturday) is going to be my last game. We’ve got to win it.”

The fact Crisp has so many weapons paid off Thursday, and coach Mitchell believes that’s the secret to the team’s success.

“They’re not selfish,’’ Gina Mitchell said. “It’s about team, it’s not about them. Everyone knows its about the team. Everyone wants to hit the open person. They all play as a team.’’

Team ball and a big day from Madi Mitchell made it a long afternoon for Curtis Baptist (14-15), which was led by Alyssa Spurlock’s 10-point effort. Crisp (30-2) hasn’t lost to a Class A team in three years and has now won 22 games in a row.

“We’ve got one more to go,’’ Madi Mitchell said.