Rome helps Angels to third state title

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 23, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / June 23, 1999

LAPLACE – LaPlace’s Crystal Rome is going to Orlando, Fla. for the secondtime in four years.

Rome is not going as another tourist visiting Walt Disney World. Insteadshe will be making her fourth straight trip to the Amateur Athletic Union”s national championships as a member of the Kenner Angels.

Rome’s first trip to the nationals was to Orlando as a member of the Angels’ 10-year-old squad in 1996. During the past four years, she hashelped the Angels capture three state championships, including this year’s earlier this month in Baton Rouge. Rome is one of two girls who has beenwith the Angels during that run.

“It was a lot more competition,” Rome, the only girl from St. John Parishwho has made the Angels’ squad, said of this year”s competition. “Thisyear was the best team. We played against some players who had playedfor us in the past.”The Angels opened the state tournament with a 71-25 victory over the Baton Rouge Boys and Girls Club before defeating the Acadiana Stars, 65- 24. The Angels then went on defeat the Baton Rouge Lady Tigers, a teamthat included two Angels from last season, 62-47, in the third game.

In the fourth game, the Angels played the Louisiana Amazons, a New Orleans-based team that had a number of players from the Southern Belles team that defeated Kenner in the state championship last year. Twoformer Angels also played on the team. The Amazons stayed close for mostof the game before the Angels pulled away at the end for a 67-46 victory.

That win sent the Angels to the championship game where they defeated Monroe, 76-48, for the title.

“It was good,” Rome said of the tournament. “I got to play against some ofthe girls that had been with us before and I got to win it for a third time.”The Angels held tryouts at the end of March and began playing the first week in May. The squad played in a number of tournaments, including theSt. James and St. Martin”s tournaments and two of their own tournaments. The Angels also traveled to the Dallas tournament where they finished fourth against some of the top teams in the area. For the season, theAngels went 16-3.

“We improved a lot over the season,” Rome said.

Rome averaged about 10 points a game playing in all the guard spots for the Angels this season and was shooting over 40 percent from the 3-point line.

“She has done very well for us,” Angels coach Alan Frey said.

“She has done an outstanding job on defense.”Rome is coming off a prep season in which she averaged 12 points and three assists a game. Rome said she feels playing in AAU really helped herprepare for high school ball.

“It helped me learn my skills,” Rome said.

The Lady Rebels will be counting on Rome even more next season with the loss of senior Michelle Millet, the team”s leading scorer. But Rome saidshe is looking forward to the challenge.

“It”s competitive and challenging, playing against people four and five years older,” Rome said of playing in high school.

But before that, Rome will be concentrating on the AAU nationals which will be held July 9-16 at the Walt Disney World Sports Complex. Between70-75 teams will be competing in the tournament which begins with pool play before heading into double elimination bracket play.

Frey, who has led other Angel teams to national champions, said it will be a tough road to the title.

“It’s a very tough tournament,” Frey said.

But Rome is confident that the Angels will be one of the teams in contention.

“To win,” Rome said of the goal for the tournament. “I think we shouldwin. We will do our best and hopefully make at least the sweet 16.”

Return To Sports Stories

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

Internet services provided by NeoSoft.

Best viewed with 3.0 or higher