Sagemont head coach Adam Ross is no stranger when it comes to Lance Crawford.
For the past few years, Ross has had to deal with Pine Crest's pesky and shifty 5-foot-11 point guard, not always coming out on the winning end.
"We've played him a few different times and he's always been a difficult matchup," Ross said. "He was always a problem for us."
Ross won't have to deal with those problems anymore.
Crawford, who has been spent the past three years at Pine Crest, transferred to Sagemont and will play his senior season under Ross, which means he won't have the unenviable task of dealing with the mismatches he tends to create on the court.
"We're hoping he creates those same mismatch problems for opponents next year," Ross said.
For Crawford, the feeling was mutual.
"Playing against Sagemont was always tough," he said. "They were games that I always looked forward to. Now being with them instead of playing against them is great."
Entering a new environment could easily be an intimidating and uncomfortable position to be in for any player making a move to a new school. It was no different for Crawford.
"I was nervous about getting to know the coaching staff better because it's important for the coach and point guard to have a good relationship," Crawford said. "Once I got there though, it was a great. I feel like I've been there my whole life."
Whenever Crawford played against the Lions, Ross' energetic and charismatic sideline demeanor always caught his attention and struck him as odd, to say the least. But now that he is on his bench, he gets the appeal of playing under him.
"I always thought 'This guy is crazy, how do you play for a guy like that?' But when you're a player on his team you get it," Crawford said. "[Coach Ross] is a great guy. You have to listen to what he's saying and not how he's saying it."
The relationship between Crawford and Ross has become a strong one since joining the school, one that has been based on mutual respect for one another both on and off the court.
"I feel like I can talk to him about everything," Crawford said. "He's looking to get you in the best situation possible and to see you succeed as a player and as a person."
The transition for Crawford when it comes to basketball has been an easy one, whose skill set works into what Ross wants to execute on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
"He's a shifty guard that finds ways to get in the paint, which is a big part of our offense," Ross said. "He's also a pesky defender that knows how to play aggressively and knocks teams out of rhythm, slows their offensive pace. He's a natural fit for what we do and we're excited to have him."
Crawford added: "We like to pressure the ball and that's what I like to do so it's been easy for me to fit into the system."
Not only is Ross excited for what Crawford brings when it comes to X's and O's, but also in the leadership department and as a facilitator on offense.
"He's a real high character guy with tremendous work ethic and big goals and aspirations," Ross said. "He compliments the other guys on the team and makes other players around him better. There's no reason he won't be able to accomplish those goals with the way he works."
Ross and Crawford do share one ambitious goal: bringing another state championship to Sagemont.
The Lions have reached the state tournament four of the past six seasons, including a Class 2A state championship in 2011. With Crawford now in the mix, they feel there isn't a reason they can't win it all again this year.
Crawford knows what it feels like to win it all, winning the state championship at Pine Crest in his sophomore season. It's an experience he is hungry to relive now with the Lions.
"I couldn't care less about anything else," Crawford said. "I can't remember a better feeling than winning the state championship and I want to do it again."