July 14, 2024 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

SJO graduate Crowe thriving at Parkland as Cobras vie for national championship

Peyton Crowe knows a thing or two about championships.


Crowe was a part of the 2018-19 St. Joseph-Ogden girls’ basketball team that placed third at state in Class 2A.


And now, she is vying for a national title as part of the Parkland women’s college basketball team.


Crowe and the rest of the Cobras play Lake Land at 6 p.m. on Friday in a semifinal game at the NJCAA Division II national tournament in Hickory, N.C.


Knock off the Lakers and Parkland (19-3) will play in Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. national championship game.


But the journey from successful career at SJO to a successful stint at Parkland didn’t come without its tribulations.


“College basketball is intense,” Crowe said. “It is a level up in intensity from high school basketball.”


Of course, trying to navigate a sophomore season at Parkland hasn’t exactly been easy. The COVID-19 pandemic made the offseason far from typical and the Cobras didn’t start playing until late January as opposed to an early November tip.


By this point in the calendar during a traditional school year, Crowe would have already played her last game with the Cobras. She will play her last game on Saturday — the loser of Friday night’s game will play in the third-place game at 3 p.m. — but it’s a safe bet Parkland wouldn’t have reached the Final Four without Crowe.


The 5-foot-8 guard is averaging 10.4 points and 4.9 rebounds while starting all 22 games this season for the Cobras. This comes after she averaged 10.5 points and started all 31 games during her freshman season.


Crowe has excelled away from the court, too. The kinesiology major earned a 3.58 grade-point average during her freshman year and was on Parkland’s Dean’s list. Once she receives her associate’s degree from Parkland with an emphasis on teaching and coaching, Crowe plans to transfer to a four-year school to earn a bachelor’s degree and eventually a master’s degree in sports administration.


All of the success Crowe has had at Parkland comes on the heels of a successful high school career at SJO. It’s where she learned to excel on the basketball court and in the classroom. It’s a trait she’s carried over to her time at Parkland — and one she plans to use throughout her life.


“We had a few sophomores who were good leaders and I looked up to them,” said Crowe. “My high school coach (Kevin Taylor) encouraged our team in high school to treat each other as if we were family and I took that with me to college because I believe that if my teammates and I did not have such a special bond during my senior year, we would not have been as successful as we were.”

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