Hawkins transferred to Riverdale two years ago and has since developed into a proven leader with a polished post game. The Maryland recruit serves as the team’s catalyst in crunch time. She averages 17 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Franklin, a co-captain along with Hawkins, is an all-around performer and great communicator on the court. The Virginia recruit has played on varsity since her freshman season. She’s averaging 10 points and seven rebounds per game.
Johnson has thrived since being inserted into the starting lineup this season. One of the team’s few lefties, Johnson is a superb defender. Johnson, who’s averaging nine points, three assists and 3.8 steals per game, is being recruited by Clemson, Rider and Seton Hall.
At December’s Nike Tournament of Champions, Riverdale upset Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), then ranked No. 1 in the ESPN RISE FAB 50. Riverdale hasn’t lost since. The Crusaders have used defense to beat the best teams from Maryland, giving up 42.2 points per game. The Crusaders also won their third consecutive National Association of Christian Athletes title by topping Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), 53-50.
Coach Gina Miller's favorite motto comes from former UCLA coach John Wooden: "The only reward for hard work is hard work."
The Crusaders' slogan this year has been, "If we play like we play when we play, we can't be beat."
To pay respect to the late N.C. State women's basketball coach Kay Yow, coach Miller had her team participate in the WBCA Pink Zone, a global effort to raise awareness for breast cancer. Miller played for Kay's sister Susan, at East Tennessee State in the 1980s. The Crusaders also volunteered at a local clinic benefiting children with intellectual disabilities.