Playing Varsity for the Crenshaw Cougars boys basketball team (14-11 overall, 5-4 Coliseum League) is a new experience for several players. The team made up of almost entirely new talent with one returning player and a transfer student with Varsity experience. However, the Cougars developed a connection among each other, leading them to contend in the Coliseum League.
“It’s a lot of young people this year,” said junior Christopher Kendrick. “Last year it was a lot of seniors, so we lost a lot of players.”
Last year, Kendrick was on the All City First Team. During this season, he scored 29 points when Crenshaw lost to the View Park Knights (14-12 overall, 6-5 Coliseum) and 27 points when the Cougars defeated the Augustus Hawkins Hawks (6-15 overall, 2-10 Coliseum) in January.
Kendrick notes that the chemistry of the team has improved since last season. Crenshaw has topped the Coliseum league six out of the eight seasons that head coach Edward Waters has been at the helm.
“We always look to win our league,” said Waters. “However, Dorsey –the last two years-have been very strong.”
For the Coliseum League, the four top teams usually battle for the top spot, said Waters. The Dorsey Dons (20-6 overall, 9-0 Coliseum) have beaten every team in the Coliseum League.
“They’re just a very fast pace team,” said senior Tyral Garrett. “They [are] all athletic; they all get off the ground.”
Garrett earned 19 points in Crenshaw’s win over the Locke Saints (2-25 overall, 0-11 Coliseum) and 13 points when the Cougars fell to the Fremont Pathfinders (20-9 overall, 9-2 Coliseum) Fremont comes in a close second, Dorsey is the only team that defeated them in the Coliseum League, according to Max Preps.
“It’s been very competitive,” said senior Ryan Campbell on Coliseum play. “Things that I never experienced before.”
Campbell transferred from Los Angeles High School, where he played varsity for three years. He scored 29 points when Crenshaw defeated Golden Valley high school and 26 points when the Cougars beat Burton high school, according to Max Preps.
For winter break tournaments, the Cougars traveled to Sacramento. Waters decided to travel by charter bus in order for the team to cultivate unity. The Cougars usually go to diverse communities for tournaments.
“We were playing teams out of the city and out [of] the state. They have different types of play,” said Garrett. “Some teams focus on threes.”
The Crenshaw boys’ basketball program had a remarkable legacy under the tutelage of retired head coach Willie West. The banners from Crenshaw past championship titles overlook the hardwood of the gym. The same banners drive Waters to coach and pursue another championship title.
“When I came here, I knew it was gonna hard because I look at the workouts,” said Kendrick. “So I had to get ready.”