Gielczyk: Kingsley’s Crosby Taking Talents to Cornerstone

Kingsley girls basketball senior center Rebekah Crosby followed in her older brother’s and sister’s footsteps when she signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at NAIA Division II Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids next year.

Older sister Ellisha graduated from Detroit played Division I and brother Kris Crosby II played at Oakland, Lake Superior State and in Canada. Rebekah still has two siblings living at home, 13-year old baseball player Elliott and Kirsten, 10, who in three years of Y-League girls basketball has lost only one game.

The 6-foot Rebekah, who transferred to Kingsley from Traverse City Christian after the Sabres’ program was shut down because of a lack of numbers, hopes to have an immediate impact for the Golden Eagles, just as she did for the Stags.

After sitting out a season per the Michigan High School Athletic Association transfer rules when her request for a waiver was denied, Crosby picked up where she’d left off her freshman year with the Sabres.

Crosby had already burst upon the scene, completing her freshman season with the Sabres as the Cherryland Conference’s Most Valuable Player by averaging 20.4 points, 15.2 rebounds, 5.1 steals, 3.9 blocks and 3.1 assists a game.

Playing for a Stags team that prided itself on having a balanced offense with no single player averaging more than more than 12 points a game, Crosby’s numbers weren’t nearly as eye-popping her final two seasons.

She averaged 9.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and two steals per game this past season as the Stags finished 28-1 overall, after going 24-0 in the regular season, and won the Northwest Conference championship with a perfect 17-0 mark.

Despite making more field goals in the same amount of games as the Stags’ top two scorers, Crosby trailed behind them in third place.

Kingsley’s season ended in the MHSAA Class B state semifinals with a 70-54 loss to eventual state champion Detroit Country Day. Country Day went on to defeat Northwest, 64-48 in the finals.

An independent, non-denominational Christian university that has undergraduate and graduate programs, Cornerstone (an NAIA school) defeated top-seeded Indiana Tech, 72-69, to earn its seventh Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) tournament championship this year, but first since the 2008-09 season. The Golden Eagles finished 19-15 last year.

It was a combination of the team’s history of success, the school, its location and the impression she got when she met with Golden Eagles head coach Katie Feenstra, a 6-feet-7 1/2 inch former Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) player that cemented Crosby’s decision.

“She and the assistant coach … the first time I met them they were like super nice in talking about how they have a really good relationship with the team,” Crosby said. “I thought that was really cool, and something I wanted to be a part of.

“Being close to Grand Rapids, there’s lots to do there. I just liked how it’s not super big. The students I talked to all said the teachers are involved in everything you do, and if you have a question you can go to them and they’ll remember you.”

The Golden Eagles unselfish play also appealed to Crosby, who began her prep career at Traverse City Christian as a point guard.

A tall point guard with the ability to snap crispy passes to more open teammates, and still was an offensive weapon herself.

“One of the girls said to me, ‘If you’re on, and you’re playing great, I’ll give you the ball every single time. I would have no problem with that,'” said Crosby. “I can respect that. That’s something I would do.”

Her mother and father, Kris Crosby, were her coaches at Traverse City Christian and she had to make a big adjustment moving over to Kingsley and playing under Stags head coach Matt Schelich.

It was made more difficult not being able to play her sophomore year.

After being the primary ball handler as a freshman, Crosby had to make the transition to playing in the post where she didn’t handle the ball nearly as much.

“I had to completely switch my mindset, to like ‘I’m not going to be in control all the time. I don’t have to do everything,'” Crosby added. “I could trust my teammates more than I had been.

“The other thing was, I’ve never liked being a post player, to be honest. I don’t think that’s my strong suit. I’ve always loved getting people the ball, where they can do what they do best with it.

“If I had a good 3-point shooter, then I would draw the defense and kick it out. That was what I loved to do. If they didn’t come to me, then I would make the layup. Being a post player, it was like I just posted up and hoped my point guard passed it to me.”

Crosby admitted it was hard for her not to have the ball in her hands all the time, and be creative.

“I loved the step back three,” she said. “That was like my favorite shot. As a post player, you don’t really get to shoot three’s very often. So, that was hard. Physically, it’s a lot tougher down there (in the post) than point guards think. I got to learn a little perspective.

“Before I was at Kingsley, I was kind of everywhere, but I wasn’t just a pot post player. So, I kind of had a little bit of knowledge. My dad taught me every position. It didn’t take me too long to figure it out.”

Crosby is fortunate in that she has two former D2 players living just down the road from her in her brother and sister who have been through it all before, and can give her some pointers in how to handle the situation.

Academically, she is still undecided on her field of study, although she says she might go into teaching or nursing, depending how she can balance her studies and playing basketball.

But, she’s excited to take the next step up.

Greg Gielczyk is an award-winning sports columnist and sportwriter who worked a total 36 years — interrupted for an 18-month period from 1997-99 — at the Manistee News Advocate as sports editor until 2006 and is now retired. He currently is a freelance sportswriter for the Ludington Daily News. Gielczyk can be reached at ggielczyk@jackpine.net for story ideas. 

Categories: Girls Basketball