Cincinnati Christian lands Crusaders’ star

Judy Wingham bristled at the memory.

A coach had told her daughter, Macy, that she was too small to play college basketball.

On Tuesday at Columbus Christian School, Macy Wingham stood tall as she signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at NAIA Division II Cincinnati Christian University.

Her parents, Judy and Andy Wingham, watched proudly as their 5-foot daughter (the “the little engine who could” according to mom) completed the deal with Cincinnati Christian coach Joshua Snyder.

“Colleges do pass up kids because of size,” Andy Wingham said. “But Macy plays bigger than she is.”

Crusaders coach Ron Bridgewater, whose team won an Indiana Christian Schools Tournament championship earlier this month, said it was a great moment for the school. It was the first girls basketball player in school history to earn a scholarship for that sport.

“For her to be the first is well-deserved,” Bridgewater said. “I think two things stand out here. One is that size and stature don’t mean as much as heart.

“The other is that no matter your size, if you are good enough, you are going to play somewhere. They will find you.”

Wingham obviously played well enough. She averaged 21.6 points, 4.8 assists and 5.1 steals for the state champion Crusaders.

Snyder saw her play the first time during summer AAU basketball. “The first thing I noticed was her competitiveness and that she has a motor that doesn’t stop,” Snyder said. “On defense, she always is moving her feet and pestering the ball handler. On offense, she has the ability to break you down and push the ball to the rim. She shoots 42% from the 3-point line and you can’t ask for much better.”

Although Judson University of Elgin, Illinois, and Coker College of Hartsville, South Carolina, had expressed interest as well, Macy Wingham chose Cincinnati Christian with the thought that her family would be able to easily attend games.

Choosing a college for basketball never really occurred to her until she transferred to Columbus Christian for her junior year of high school.

“I kind of hit a wall my sophomore year,” she said. “The NAIA? I didn’t know what that was.

“But I had a new mind set when I changed schools. You have to believe in yourself and find confidence in yourself.”

She understands that she can be a role model for kids who see all that she has accomplished despite her size.

“It’s very important because I know kids are watching me,” she said.

Her mom said she always knew that a basketball scholarship was possible.

“She has had a ball in her hands since she was born,” Judy Wingham said. “She had the desire. We were in the gym all the time.”

When his daughters were young, Andy Wingham had to wake up Macy’s older sisters, Mackenzie and Marin, to go to the gym. Macy was the one waking him up to practice.

“I remember one special time, when she was in sixth grade at Parkside, I was taking her to practice and she was sick,” Andy Wingham said. “I told her that she might have to miss practice. Then the coach told her to go home.

“She said, ‘Dad, I can’t.’ She was in tears. It has been awesome to see her desire to play all the time. She’s always been a leader.”

Snyder, who led the Eagles to a 15-16 record this season, said he had another reason for signing Macy Wingham.

“We put a premium on quality character,” he said.