Lee girls stand tall, beat Roosevelt
Lee opened the second round of District 26-6A play on Tuesday the same way it started the first — with a victory against Roosevelt.
However, the Volunteers had a decidedly different look this time, when two 6-footers took the floor for them at Littleton Gymnasium.
Juniors Leslie Velten and Mica Crawford (who stands 6-3) helped Lee gain a huge rebounding edge that enabled it to post a 46-36 victory. Each had eight rebounds as the Volunteers had a 35-18 advantage on the boards.
“Not only have they made the girls feel comfortable with having somebody rebound underneath the basket, they are great leaders as well,” Lee coach Dru Weeaks said of Velten and Crawford, transfers from Churchill who weren’t eligible until the second semester. “They have been great additions to the team.”
Velten and Crawford became eligible to play beginning with Lee’s game against Reagan on Jan. 6. The Volunteers won that game 59-35 and are 3-1 since.
Velten and Crawford give the Volunteers (12-13, 4-3) an element they didn’t have. No other Lee player is taller that 5-8.
“We have posts we can use,” Lee junior guard Blanca DeLeon said. “Before, we had a guard game. It helps to have that height and that extra help down low.”
Velten paced the Volunteers in the first half Tuesday. She had eight points and six rebounds as Lee slugged its way a 17-7 halftime lead.
Velten sat down at the 5:41 mark of the third quarter when she was called for her third foul with the Volunteers holding a 19-12 lead. DeLeon followed with a pair of 3-pointers as the Volunteers carried a 30-19 advantage into the final quarter.
“I know when I am sitting on the bench, I can trust them to keep the momentum,” Velten said.
Roosevelt (9-13, 2-5) crept to within 32-24, but Lee put it away with an 8-2 run.
“Even when our big had to sit down, the momentum stayed up,” DeLeon said. “We stayed calm, cool and collected.”
Velten led Lee with 12 points. Jenesis Navarro had 11 and DeLeon 10.
Roosevelt was led by Ayleen Carrizales’ 12 points.
“For the girls to be able to keep a lead for that long is a great confidence-builder,” Weeaks said.