Columbus Christian senior guard Kayleigh Reed doesn’t think in terms of statistics.
Her focus is on levels.
So the fact that her scoring average might have slipped a tad her final high school basketball season means little when it comes to pursuit of the No. 1 goal.
“We want to take it to the next level,” she said.
Story continues below gallery
The Crusaders (27-3) already have done that, winning the Indiana Christian Schools Tournament regional championship Monday. Last season, Columbus Christian lost in the regional’s first round.
Monday’s 54-35 victory against Bloomington Lighthouse was a huge step for the program.
Today, though, another even loftier level is obtainable.
Columbus Christian faces Horizon Christian at 10 a.m. in the state tournament semifinals at the Faith Church Fitness Center in Lafayette. If Columbus Christian wins that game, it would face the winner of the other semifinal, Granger (17-6) vs. Arthur Okaw (15-10), in the championship game at 5 p.m.
No Columbus Christian girls basketball team has won a state championship.
“We made history last year at the (National Association of Christian Athletes tournament), and now we can make another big memory,” Reed said.
After coming up short in last year’s state tournament, the Crusaders won the Division 5 title at the NACA event in Dayton, Tennessee. That victory sparked a more determined effort to win a state championship.
Last season, guard Macy Wingham and Reed were the two main scoring threats for the Crusaders. That has changed. This season, junior Tori Robinson and senior wing Rachel Warren have emerged as consistent double-figure scorers.
“A lot of girls have improved,” said Reed, who is 5-foot tall. “Everyone has an offensive side now.
Reed, who came from Columbus East, and Wingham, from Columbus North, transferred to Columbus Christian last season as juniors, and the program took off. The Crusaders finished 21-9 last season.
Since that time, Reed has been OK playing second fiddle to Columbus Christian’s star, Wingham.
“I think it is encouraging to have a team leader and to be able to work with her,” Reed said. “And we’ve always played together. We played PAAL and elementary school basketball together through sixth grade. Then we played at Northside together.”
The two split for two years as they went different directions in high school, then decided to return together to Columbus Christian.
It was a bit tough at first, as they had to blend into a team that didn’t place a high priority on basketball. That changed.
“We all click together now,” Reed said. “We have taken basketball a lot more seriously, but it still is fun. And I know that basketball is not a life or death situation.”
She also knows that today’s final four games and the upcoming NACA tournament the following week could be her final competitive basketball games.
“It’s sad,” she said. “I’ve really enjoyed just building friendships on this team, and building each other up.
“All of us are really excited about (the final four). We get to spent more time together and we get to create more memories.”
The Crusaders had to rally from a poor start to beat Bloomington Lighthouse on Monday, and they probably can’t afford a similar slow start today.
“We’re going to have to calm down,” Reed said. “When we play tougher teams, we tend to get ahead of ourselves. We want to rush things. It’s just another game of basketball.”
On Monday, Columbus Christian coach Ron Bridgewater showed his players that he was agitated with their start.
“Ron has been my youth pastor and his son (Nick) and I are the same age. He has been kind of a father figure,” she said. “We respect him and sometimes he makes us wake up.”
Bridgewater said he usually doesn’t have to wake up Reed when everything is on the line.
“Probably her biggest improvement has been playing in the big games,” Bridgewater said. “Every since she made the all-tourney national team last year, she has come up clutch in big games.
“She really has matured as a person and she doesn’t let things get to her as much. She also has matured spiritually and that has had a big impact on her attitude. Having her back here was a shot in the arm because she is so full of energy, so full of life.”
After graduation, Reed plans to attend Johnson University in Knoxville, Tennessee. Although she would consider playing basketball, she wants to focus on her education and on “growing spiritually.”
She plans to go into elementary education.
She expects to stay in contact with Columbus Christian teammates no matter where she goes.
“I always will remember the impact that we have made on each other,” she said.
Indiana Christian Schools Tournament
WHERE: Faith Church Fitness Center, Lafayette
SEMIFINALS: Columbus Christian (27-3) vs. Horizon Christian (24-7), 10 a.m.; Granger (17-6) vs. Arthur Okaw (15-10), noon
TITLE GAME: 5 p.m.