Aimee Dilger | Times Leader Julia Makowski did it all for Crestwood, leading the team in points, rebounds and steals — not to mention a WVC Division 1 girls basketball title and on trips to the school’s first District 2 title and state playoff appearance in 34 years. - Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
The Crestwood Comets weren’t supposed to win this big, let alone challenge history.
Somewhere deep in her heart, though, Julia Makowski just knew they could.
The leader of an undersized but over-achieving team had her sights set on success long before the Comets accomplished the school’s second-ever District 2 championship game and state playoff apperances and she wasn’t going to fall short of attaining them.
Other talented players in Crestwood’s recent history had similar dreams dashed in the past.
Makowski just wouldn’t stop until she made them come true.
“Every game, I knew what roles I had and what needed to be done for us to accomplish what we wanted this season,” Makowski said.
The 5-foot-5 senior guard did just about everything for Crestwood on her way to becoming the Times Leader girls basketball player of the year.
She took the Comets to the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 title, to their first district title game and Crestwood’s first PIAA playoff game in 34 years while fighting through double teams and gimmick defenses to score in double figures in all 26 games.
“It was a lot of hard work,” the daughter of Stanley and Linda Makowski of Wapwallopen said. “There were three people on me at some points in games. I needed to work hard to get open.
“I just had it in mind that I knew I needed to score for our team to be successful.”
Score she did, as Makowski averaged 21.5 points while leading the Comets to a 12-4 league record and their first WVC title in five years.
But it was more than her ability to put the ball in the basket that separated Makowski as a difference-maker.
“She led the team not only in scoring, but in rebounding and in steals,” Crestwood coach Ed Stepanski said. “She was second on our team in assists and, as a defensive player, I don’t know how many games she shut down the top scorer on the other team.
“Oh, she was huge.”
Her big numbers — scoring the 1,000th point of her high school career to go with her 227 rebounds (nine per game) and 68 steals — didn’t come by accident.
“It was just her overall hustle,” Stepanski said. “When she played, she’d never stop, really. She’d miss a shot, chase it down, get her own rebound and score. And she was able to play inside and outside.”
Makowski showed that by hitting 29 3-point field goals during the league season, shooting 76 percent from the foul line and doing some of her best work while dashing through the paint.
She scored 18 points in a district semifinal victory over Wyoming Valley West to put the Comets in a District 2 final for the first time since 1984 and second time in school history. She scored a team-high 10 points in a District 2 Class 5A championship loss to Scranton and finished with 16 points in a nail-biting first-round state playoff loss to Susquehannock.
Despite that personal success, the team goals were what drove Makowski and that shared success made for the fondest memories of her illustrious career.
“We had a goal in mind — it was definitely (making) the district championship game and the state playoffs,” said Makowski, who will head to play for Arcadia next season after carrying a 4.2 GPA at Crestwood. “It wasn’t talked about, but we all knew what we wanted. Everyone worked toward that. The group of girls and class we had this season, it was just a special group.
“It was a memory that was a great way to end my high school basketball career with.”
Aimee Dilger | Times Leader Julia Makowski did it all for Crestwood, leading the team in points, rebounds and steals — not to mention a WVC Division 1 girls basketball title and on trips to the school’s first District 2 title and state playoff appearance in 34 years.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL050118Julia-Makowski2-1-1-1.jpgAimee Dilger | Times Leader Julia Makowski did it all for Crestwood, leading the team in points, rebounds and steals — not to mention a WVC Division 1 girls basketball title and on trips to the school’s first District 2 title and state playoff appearance in 34 years. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader