Fife Trojans go to man from the ark

Fife Trojans go to man from the ark

Fife : WA : USA | Feb 26, 2011 at 11:56 AM PST
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East Fife: Kevin Gordon Scores v Montrose (25/11/2006)

If you were to ask a high school basketball player about the history of the three-point line, it is likely the response may be a blank stare, followed by a shrug of the shoulders. For the inquiring mind, the National Federation of High Schools adopted the 21-foot three-point line in 1987, and forever changed the dynamics of high school basketball.

Fast-forward 24 years to Fife High School, where Trojan basketball star Kevin McCrossin also changed the game, by shattering his school's former three-point shot record of seven in single game, set by former Trojan Kevin Cox in 2005.

Cox is the brother of another upcoming shooter by the name of Travis Cox.

Sharpshooter McCrossin (22 games, 372 points, averaging 14.9 points a game) is sixth in scoring in the South Puget Sound League 2A league.

Leading up to the road game Feb. 8 against the Eatonville Cruisers (4-10 overall, 9-12 overall), the Fife senior caught fire from beyond the arc, averaging six three-pointers a game. But in the last game of league play, McCrossin stepped to the court against the Cruisers and broke Fife's record with eight three-pointers.

During the game, McCrossin found his stroke early and often, draining three treys in the first period, all college range. He was in the zone, not aware of how many of them he had sank.

When McCrossin went to the sidelines during a time out in the fourth period, his teammates enthusiastically raised their hands indicating "seven," and shortly thereafter, the record was broken.

"It was cool to beat the record," McCrossin said. "I didn't know how many threes I had until people started telling me that I hit the eighth one and then it just hit me what I had accomplished."

McCrossin ended the contest going 9-of-15 from the field, 8-of-11 from beyond the arc, and led the Trojans to a 65-54 victory. He finished league play with a season high of 26 points and helped complete the Trojans' eight-game winning streak.

McCrossin's game-changing ability to drain three-pointers has been felt by many of his opponents begrudgingly over the years. As talented as the young baller is, much of his success can be attributed to an entourage of supporters, including his father, John.

McCrossin is a self-proclaimed gym rat and has grown up smelling, touching and breathing basketball, and his phenomenal stats prove it.

"It all started for me when I was young," Kevin said.

John was a former high school basketball coach, so at 2 years old, his son was already in the gym getting a head start.

"My dad taught me to shoot with good form, using correct ball weight and the height of the hoops," Kevin said. "He was also a really good shooter and gave me some of the natural touch, I suppose.

As a baby, McCrossin had a toy Fisher Price basketball set that his family kept in the living room, according to his mother, Connie.

"Whenever he slam-dunked the ball through it, a bell would ring," she noted.

As a toddler, his grandparents gave him an adjustable plastic basketball hoop for Christmas.

"We have video of him running down the hallway and slamming the ball in it," Connie said. "It got to the point where the ceilings in our house were not tall enough for his frequent shooting."

McCrossin admits his form is not perfect, but "the ball goes in, and that is all that matters," he said.

John has enjoyed watching his son excel in the sport over the years. His son always had very good hand/eye coordination, he said. From a very early age, McCrossin could throw a baseball very accurately, hit a ball pitched to him and catch anything ball thrown his way, he added.

"His mom and I are proud of him," John said. "We have always tried to guide him in his choices, but ultimately, it is up to him to put in the time to get better."

McCrossin was a bigger kid growing up, so he played post and continued to develop his shooting, John explained. Since he was never asked to bring the ball up the court, he simply worked on the things he did well, which in basketball was shooting, he added.

"Kevin won some hot shot contests and free throw contests when he was younger, and it has always helped that he is a kid who is confident in his abilities," John said.

Whether that is in school (McCrossin currently has a 3.89 grade point average), on the basketball court, or on the golf course (where he hopes to be heading to state for the third time), his parents understand their son works hard to accomplish his goals.

On game days, McCrossin gets to school around 6:30 a.m. to work on his shooting. He hits the gym on Sundays to shoot, as well.

Like all sports, in basketball success is about repetition, confidence and being fundamentally sound, John said.

"Kevin has strengths in all of those areas and has been willing to put in the time to improve," he said. "He is a true team player, a positive influence on the court and toward our team attitude. His mom and I are equally if not more proud of that."

"We jokingly say he hasn't met a shot he doesn't like," Connie said.

She and her husband also appreciate McCrossin's teammates and his dedicated coaches, who have all invested in him, and made him a better person and player, Connie said.

During the season, McCrossin frequently gazed upon the record board Coach Mark Schelbert had placed in the hallway. He was inspired to better those records.

"I walked by the board many times, and I did think the three-point record was one I could potentially break if I got hot," McCrossin said.

Schelbert shared his thoughts on McCrossin's achievements.

"This is a great accomplishment for Kevin," he said. "Shooting is one of his strengths, and he takes a lot of pride in his ability and responsibility to make shots for us."

As a coach, Schelbert is more concerned about winning games than setting records, he said.

"(Kevin's) threes were important for us in that regard," he said. "I am happy for Kevin. Basketball has always been an important part of his life. Kevin has put a lot of time in during the offseason making him a great shooter."

Breaking records is a great thing, but to do so requires team effort and trust - two things the Trojans have in abundance.

"It really comes down to a complete effort every game for me to get my shot off," McCrossin said. "I don't often create my own shots, so I depend on my team to find me. We have confidence in each other to make the big play. Without them, I wouldn't have been able to break the records or help the team win."

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