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Parkland's Bree Trimble, bottom, and Peyton Crowe at practice at Parkland in Champaign on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

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CHAMPAGIN — Peyton Crowe’s most vivid memory of her middle-school “rivalry” with Bree Trimble is actually a better one for her now teammate.

Crowe’s Prairieview-Ogden team always seemed to have the upper hand on Trimble’s St. Joseph team.

Until eighth grade.

“We were playing them on our home court at the Flatville school,” Crowe said. “I think we went into overtime, and I’m pretty sure Bree hit a shot in my face to win the game. I was like, ‘That’s someone I want on my team in high school.’”

Crowe remembered the moment correctly.

“That’s the only time we had ever beaten them was my eighth-grade year at PVO,” Trimble said. “It was awesome to beat them there. Honestly, we don’t (talk about it). We really don’t. We just talk about our senior year and state most of the time, but I should bring that up sometimes. That’s funny.”

Crowe and Trimble would ultimately team up in high school at St. Joseph-Ogden. Both were varsity starters from day one and helped lead the Spartans to a third-place finish at the Class 2A state tournament as seniors during the 2018-19 season.

Crowe and Trimble have stayed teammates at Parkland. They again played key roles as freshmen, and the now-sophomores have helped lead the Cobras to the NJCAA Division II national tournament, which tips off for Parkland at 11 a.m. on Tuesday in Hickory, N.C.

“Going on that state run in high school, that was always a goal of ours beginning our freshmen year when we both started on varsity,” Crowe said. “Our senior year, we were like, ‘Well, it’s now or never, so let’s get it done now.’ We felt it pretty much the whole season, and we knew we could be very successful with the potential we had. Being able to experience that together, again, is pretty crazy.”

Crowe has started all 20 games this season for Parkland (17-3) entering its first-round national tournament game against Muskegon (Mich.) and is one of three players averaging double figures at 10.4 points per game.

Trimble has started most of the season and isn’t far behind in the scoring column at 9.5 points per game. Both are on the floor in crunch time for the Cobras. And the chemistry they developed on the court at SJ-O has blossomed as they’ve matured.

“It’s super easy playing with her now,” Trimble said. “We’ve got it down. We both know what each others’ strengths are, and we just really try to show that when we’re playing in the games.”

Crowe and Trimble also balance each other out on the court. Crowe wears her emotions on her sleeve and lets them all out while she plays. Trimble is more even-keeled.

“I feel like, in a way, I can almost bring out Bree’s emotions better than anyone else because my emotions are so distinct when we’re playing,” Crowe said. “I would say she’s the calm to my storm when I need it.”

“I want to keep everybody calm on the court,” Trimble added. “If I do something good or make a shot, I’m like, ‘OK, it’s whatever.’ Peyton does show a lot of her emotions, and I think that’s what makes her the player that she is.”

Crowe and Trimble’s six-year run together will probably end when Parkland’s season does. Both intend on continuing their basketball careers at a four-year school and are weighing several options, but they understand it likely won’t be a package deal

“We just both want what’s best for each other,” Trimble said. “If that means us not playing together, we both know we’ll be prepared and fine with that.”

Crowe is considering schools in Missouri, Indiana and Iowa. She also knows playing in the national tournament could create more exposure and open more doors — even if it means breaking up what she jokingly called the “dynamic duo.”

“I know she wants to go somewhere south where it’s warm,” Crowe said of Trimble. “That’s kind of her happy place.”

{p class=”card-about”}Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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