As the final seconds ticked away in the McDonald’s All-American game, the high school basketball career of Blackman’s Crystal Dangerfield came to an end.
Her next challenge will be as a member of the Connecticut women’s basketball team next fall.
What the national powerhouse Huskies are gaining is one of the most decorated girls players in Tennessee high school history. Dangerfield is The Tennessean girls basketball player of the year for the third year in a row.
Dangerfield won her third Gatorade Player of the Year Award for the state (the only female to achieve that), racked up her second consecutive Miss Basketball honor and received numerous national honors, including playing in the top high school all-star game and also winning the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year Award.
She was also a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year and Gatorade national awards.
There’s not much she hasn’t accomplished, both individually and for her Blackman team. The Lady Blaze won back-to-back state titles before falling to eventual state champ Riverdale in this season’s Region 4-AAA semifinals.
“Looking back at (this past season’s) loss, that’s something,” said Dangerfield, when asked if she left behind any regrets. “But looking back over the four years, my high school career is something I can be proud of.”
Dangerfield averaged 23.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists as a senior in earning her third consecutive All-State award.
In the recent McDonald’s All-American game Dangerfield scored six points, dished out six assists and had a steal as her East team lost a late lead in a loss to the West.
“That really was a great experience,” Dangerfield said, adding the game gave her a sneak peak at what playing for the top women’s college basketball team would be like. “Especially the guard play and seeing the speed of the game. It will be a big change of speed from high school to college.
“But, playing AAU ball in the summer and playing in Rutherford County prepares you as well.”
Even for a player who had already signed with UConn and been tabbed as the best player in the state, there was still improvement left in Dangerfield’s high school résumé when she entered her senior season.
“I became a better leader off the court,” she said. “We were a very young team. I wanted to be someone my teammates could depend on.”
G Crystal Dangerfield
Why chosen: Dangerfield was named the Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year for the third consecutive year and led Blackman to regular season district 7AAA title and 7AAA tournament championship behind averages of 23.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.5 steals per game
College plans: Signed with UConn
Quote: “(One of the biggest accomplishments is) having people come back to me and say they look up to me, and make comments on the person that I am.”
Family: Parents Christopher and Davonna, brother, Komar (27) and sister, Brooke (23)
Athletic background: Four-year starting varsity point guard at Blackman High School, Member of USA Basketball Gold Medal teams in 2013 (U16) and 2015 (U19), two-time Class AAA Miss Basketball, 3-time Gatorade Tennessee State Player of the Year, McDonald’s All-American, Morgan Wooten National Player of the Year.
How did you spend your spring break? I spent part of spring break in Chicago participating in the McDonald’s All-American Games activities and visiting the Ronald McDonald House. I also attended the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Indianapolis.
Best high school sports moment: Winning back to back state titles, back to back Miss Basketball awards, and 3 consecutive TN Gatorade Player of the Year awards.
Favorite athletie: Maya Moore
Where do you see yourself in 10 years: Content with life, either still playing basketball or with a career in business.
What do you think of Brentwood Academy’s Darius Garland: Darius is deserving of everything that is about to come his way. He’s a very talented player and one of my good friends.