It’s easy to spot what the Cross Creek girls basketball team doesn’t have.
But after a few moments, opponents will see what the height-deficient Lady Razorbacks do have.
“The biggest eye-opener for me was getting my shot blocked like 10 times in one game,” Jasmine Kilgore said about first playing in high school. “I realized I have to do more with my drive.”
Cross Creek has used that speed and athleticism on both ends of the floor to open the season 13-2 after it went a combined 16-37 the past two seasons.
The Lady Razorbacks, who begin subregion play tonight against Butler, have also used depth to help make up for the height disadvantage.
Though no player reaches 5-foot-10, four are averaging at least eight points a game, with Kilgore, Breanna Bryant, Ashleigh Outler and Tia Pullens all falling in the eight- to 12-point scoring range.
“Everybody is trying to step it up, and that’s what makes it so good,” coach Kim Schlein said.
Schlein and her players knew Cross Creek had potential, even during all the defeats for the young team.
“It was kind of hard,” Pullens said. “Because people would say, ‘You’re just young. You’re going to get it next year.’ But we wanted it now.”
A year ago, the 10-17 record masked how close Cross Creek was to changing results.
Eight setbacks came by six points or fewer, including the loss to traditional power Hephzibah in the region tournament.
This season, Schlein, a former Wendell Lofton assistant, saw her team beat Hephzibah in the Holiday Round Ball Classic to overcome what she called a big obstacle. There also have been wins against Region 3-AAA members Grovetown, Josey, Richmond Academy and Westside.
With their speed, the Lady Razorbacks have forced turnovers in bunches, with Bryant averaging 3.2 steals a game.
Though there’s the height issue, Cross Creek still often wins rebounding battles, with Outler and Naomi Wilds both grabbing at least eight boards per game.
The tallest while playing in middle school, Outler realized she had to work on her ball-handling as she entered high school. With that work, Outler can play the post and even bring the ball up the floor.
It’s all about making up for the lack of size, a situation the team uses as motivation.
“We know that we’re undersized,” Kilgore said. “So we’re already going in with a chip on our shoulder, and nobody wants to lose to Cross Creek. This year, you’re going to have to get used to it.”