February 12, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – She’s listed at 5-foot-5 on the team roster, but that would be a generous stretch of the numbers for John A. Logan College freshman point guard Ariel Crump.

Although diminutive in stature, Crump plays big on the basketball floor. She is the focal part of both the offense and defense for a Vols’ team that had posted a 19-4 record going into Saturday’s action.

A native of Brunswick, Ga., Crump leads the Logan squad in assists (3.3) and steals (2.3), while also contributing seven points and nearly five rebounds per game.

“Ariel brings an energy, toughness and determination to the point guard position that we haven’t had in some time,” said JALC first-year head coach Amanda Shelby. “Ariel has such a desire to win. She is the one kid who I know will give us everything she has each game. If you have ever seen her play, you know that she will be on the floor, sacrificing her body to help us win. She never stops and that is something that coaches can’t teach players. It’s an inner drive that we, as coaches, wish all players had.

“Ariel has been a tremendous asset to us this year and one of the many reasons why we are having such a great season,” Shelby said. “Ariel is a long way from home. She took a chance on Logan to be her basketball home and I couldn’t imagine not having her on this team and being the leader that she is for us.”

Crump said she was accustomed to playing at a fast pace in high school, so being asked to press and trap at the collegiate level was not a big adjustment for her.

“It’s what I’m used to,” she said. “The biggest difference, for me, is on offense. In high school, I was more of a scorer. Here, I have a different role. I handle the ball more and am mainly responsible for controlling the tempo of the game and making sure the offense runs smoothly. And I don’t mind distributing the ball because I have confidence in my teammates. We have players (Tiaunna Watkins, McKena Miller, Kaili Bacon and Haley Darnell) who can shoot and score.”

Being a distributor doesn’t mean that Crump won’t take an open shot if provided by the defense. It just means passing comes first.

“I really like my teammates,” she said. “Even though we were all new to one another at the start of the season, we seem to have really great chemistry as a unit. We all play hard and want to win. As long as we keep doing that and have some fun along the way, I think we can go pretty far in the postseason.”

The Logan women are 12-2 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference, one game back of league-leading Shawnee. The Vols are presently tied with Vincennes for the No. 2 seed in the District Tournament at Rend Lake. The 19 total wins is the most for the women’s program since the Vols went 20-9 and qualified for the national tournament in 2011.