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TIMES ALL-NORTH NAC MVP: Crosby mixes old school, new wave

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Hammond girls basketball coach Shawn Dack calls senior Alyssa Crosby an “old school type of player.

“She works extremely hard all of the time, she led us every day in practice, and she was always there for the team and the program as other great players were,” Dack said of the slender, but extremely strong 5-foot-11 standout who dialed in her picture perfect shooting stroke by the seventh grade and has developed into a rare five-position player.

“As a coach it is rewarding to see players understand your concepts and ideas. Alyssa has the ability to make them come to life and take it a step further,” Dack said.

Crosby used that “old school” attitude to develop her new wave skills and athletic package to a level where she earned a place among the best in Hammond history. She finished her career with 1,587 points to rank second behind Heather Carvill’s 1,691.

But scoring was only the start of Crosby’s court presence.

In the recently completed season, she averaged 18.6 points, 13.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.9 steals per game, leading the 21-3 Red Devils to a 14-0 NAC West Division championship, a second straight Section 10 Class D title, and a victory over Section 7 champion Elizabethtown-Lewis in the state tournament.

She joined Carvill as the second player in Hammond history to receive the Jan Reetz Award and was honored as co-MVP of NAC West (shared with Clifton-Fine junior Hunter Hitchman) for a second straight year.

She is also recognized with another historic repeat, being named the Northern Athletic Conference MVP on the Times All-North team for a second straight year. She is the second Hammond player to accomplish the honor, joining Brittany Kenyon.

Crosby said her individual accolades originated from the development of her team. “We had a great team this year and went undefeated in a very good league,” she said. “Everyone worked hard and improved a great deal.”

An integral part of the Red Devils’ success came from balance featuring well-rounded contributions led by forward Gabby Marshall, a senior, and guard Courtney Bova, a junior.

That balance originated from Crosby’s willingness and ability to master all facets of the low post.

“I remember asking her last season to move into the post and work on a shot fake in the lane. She looked at me like I was asking her to split an atom,” Dack said.

“Last summer, she worked and worked and she got it, and not many could handle her in there this season,” Dack added. “Overall it allowed her to play outside and inside without comprising her game. It gave us the advantage of moving her around without weakening our offense. It strengthened it by opening up our perimeter shooters. It gave us balance.”

The balance and versatility was never more apparent than in the three straight postseason wins that advanced Hammond to the state regional finals, where it was stopped by Section 2’s Fort Edward, the team’s first loss to a Class D opponent.

In the Section 10 Class D tournament, Crosby prospered inside, delivering 24 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks and three steals in a 39-35 win over Chateaugay. While playing inside, she followed with 28 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and four blocks in a 43-40 win over Heuvelton in the Section 10 Class D Championship.

Elizabethtown-Lewis went zone for much of the first state tournament game, and Crosby smoothly shifted to the perimeter. She buried three 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

“I really don’t care what position I play. I will play anywhere my coach and my team needs me to play,” said Crosby, who said she wants to continue playing hoops in college.

“I just love the game. It has always been a big part of our family. We have a court on our farm and I get out there a lot to shoot and play different games with my sisters.”

As she prepares to complete her scholastic sports career in the softball season, she calls her experience at Hammond “amazing.”

“I have had great coaches in coach Dack and coach T (Chet Truskowski) and my family has really been great. My grandfather (Earl Dillon) first took me to biddy basketball in Gouverneur and he is on the sidelines taking pictures at every game,” Crosby said. “I just can’t believe high school has gone by so fast.”

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