The Crenshaw Cougars boys basketball team has a 6-8 overall record (Photo by Rob Helfman)

In their first of two matches this season, the Crenshaw Cougars boys and girl’s basketball teams defeated their rivals, the Dorsey dons. Both teams started their games strong in front of an away crowd. This was the third consecutive away victory against Dorsey for the Cougars.

“It’s great, it’s our rival school,” said Crenshaw junior Kedin Bradley. “That’s what we come to do every year.”

The Rivalry showdown was not short of noise and enthusiasm from both sides, fans of both schools packed the gym at Dorsey. The girl’s basketball teams clashed first in the doubleheader.

Seniors Kailyn Watkins and Emoddishae Williams made shots, helping the Cougars jump to a 19-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. Watkins commanded the tempo of the game with her paint penetration.

“Shooting was never my thing,” she said. “I always like contact,”

The Dons competed by making free throws and jumpers. The Crenshaw girls maintained their authority if the game by battling for rebounds, forcing turnovers, and executing a variety of shots, ultimately winning the game 74-39.

“Defense wins games, so defense was a part of every game,” Watkins said. “You just got to play as a team, talk, communicate and it will all come together.”

Dons sophomore Jai’Yahne Henderson (15) defends Crenshaw senior Kailyn Watkins (5) (Photo by Rob Helfman)

The Crenshaw boys basketball team followed suit in their physical contest against the Dorsey boys. This season, the Cougars honored the legacy of slain rapper and philanthropist Nipsey Hussle by wearing jerseys with the word “Marathon” are on the back of each jersey with Crenshaw printed in the iconic script of the Marathon Clothing shirts.

The Dons struggled to get shots to fall as the Cougars reached the 20-point mark by the end of the first quarter. At the beginning of the second phase, Dorsey cultivated an offensive jolt with a five-point run, they also executed on the free-throw line. Although Crenshaw’s shooting slowed down, they still had the lead by the half.

The tension was palpable as the cheerleaders cheered passionately and as fans shouted towards fans of their opponents. On the court, players earned technical fouls and they ultimately did not shake hands at the end of the game.

Despite their struggles with shooting, Dorsey presented a defensive strategy that challenged the Cougars.

“Having one person play me 94 feet all game, that kinda got to me,” Bradley said.

Although Dorsey players found their shot behind the arc, it was not enough to keep the Dons from falling short to Crenshaw 72-31.

The basketball teams have tournament play scheduled throughout the Christmas holiday, with the Dons boys participating in the third annual Dwan Hurt Basketball tournament.