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"All about the team": Crawford comes full circle with the Redskins
The Redskins alum and current girls' basketball assistant coach Yasmine Crawford reflects on winning titles for Bryan County--both on the court and on the sidelines.
yasmine crawford
Coach Mario Mario (left) and assistant coach Yasmine Crawford holding the region championship trophy. (Photo/Mike Brown).

When Bryan County’s girls beat Metter to win the Region 3A-D1 championship, it brought back a lot of memories for Yasmine Crawford.


It was the Redskins’ first region title since 2017 when Crawford, now an assistant coach, was one of the leaders of that team. Those memories became even sharper when she watched the team win its first two playoff games to advance to the Elite Eight, also for the first time since 2017.


Bryan County was seeking its first ever Final Four berth on Tuesday night at Rabun County.


The Redskins’ 57-47 win against Metter, coached by former Bryan County assistant Cassandra Donaldson who spent 10 years with Coach Mario Mincey, was eerily similar to the 52-49 win over Vidalia seven years ago. Bryan County was then Class AA.


“When we played Vidalia, it was a very intense game,” Crawford said. “We had to play together as a team just like we did against Metter.


“The intensity, playing as a team, staying humble as a team helped us win tonight,” Crawford said. “That was the thing I remember about our 2017 team. We were humble and we played together. There were no egos. It was all about the team.”


Crawford, who last month began a job at the Hyundai-MGMA plant, is closing in on a bachelor’s degree in sports management at Georgia Southern—she said she has two semesters to go—after playing two years at Central Georgia Technical College.


Although still in college, Crawford said Mincey treats her as a full-time staff member.


“He lets his coaches coach,” Crawford said. “There was no point in the Metter game when he didn’t look at us as coaches, asked us what to do and took our advice and did it. You don’t have a lot of head coaches who will listen and actually take the advice of their assistant coaches.


“Coach Mincey has always done that from day one and it helps because that’s what a team is:  players and coaches working together. He treats you like a veteran coach. He helps you develop and then when you get a job you’re not coming in as a greenhorn. He prepares me as a coach the same way he prepared me as a player.”


Crawford has been helping coach the Redskins the last two years and her primary assignment has been working with the post players, especially Ashanti Brown, a 5-foot-8 junior who is closing in on 1,000 rebounds and is playing her best basketball of the season. Brown, who missed the first three games of the season, is averaging 14 points and 13 rebounds per game.


When Crawford graduated, she left with over 1,000 rebounds and nearly 1,000 points. She averaged 12.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game her senior year.


Crawford did this while playing with Julianne Brown and Olonna Rawls, the two most prolific scorers in school history.


Crawford and Brown played together for seven years starting in the fifth grade. Brown finished with 1,671 points. Rawls, now playing at Columbus State, was the starting point guard that year as a freshman and went on to set the school record with 2,276.


“Yasmine had to fight for her points,” Mincey said. “She was a player who did all the dirty work like Ashanti is doing now. She earned everything she got.”


The 2017 team included some of the best players in school history.  In addition to Rawls, Brown and Crawford there was sophomore Shelby Gunn who scored over 1,000 points, sophomore Jay Black who finished with more than 1,000 rebounds, 5-8 senior Alayna Williams who got the rebounds Crawford didn’t, senior guard Alyssa Edwards and freshman guard Aliation Eason who were prolific three-point shooters as was Gunn.    


“As a player it was just another game,” Crawford said of beating Vidalia in the title game. “As a coach I sit back now and I can say I’m proud of them. As we continue to keep going, we have to stick with the same plan.


“No hype. Just keep playing ball.”

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