After winning a National Association of Christian Athletes Tournament title and an Indiana Christian Schools Tournament championship in the past two years, the Columbus Christian girls might be starting over this basketball season.
Not only did the Crusaders lose all five starters from last year’s 31-4 squad that won the ICST title, they lost coach Ron Bridgewater to retirement. Bridgewater resurrected the program four years ago and won a combined 52 games during the past two seasons.
Jennifer Hardin, who has been an assistant with Columbus Christian those past four years, takes over a young team with only seven players and no seniors.
“It was more of a concern just to keep the program alive,” Hardin said. “It’s going to be a rough season and a character-building season for sure.”
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The Crusaders have one player who has seen significant varsity action the past couple years in 5-foot-4 junior point guard Jena Fryback.
Columbus Christian will also get a boost from the addition of 5-6 junior Emily Muck, will share point guard duties with Fryback. Muck, a home schooled student, played for the Indianapolis Homeschool Wildcats the past couple years.
Three other players saw a little varsity action last season in 5-5 junior Madison Ochs, 5-5 sophomore Taylor Ingram and 5-4 junior Jenny Decker. The trio will likely join Fryback and Muck in the starting lineup.
Molly Ziegler, a 5-5 junior, also will see action.
“We’re looking at a few more prospects that can hopefully add a little bit of depth to the team,” Hardin said. “Hopefully, some of those girls will see that (current players are) sticking with it, and hopefully, that will motivate them to want to get in the program.”
This group of Crusaders gained valuable experience playing together in AAU basketball this summer.
“I just want to see us all stay positive and help each other,” Hardin said. “We all have different skill levels, and sometimes, they may get frustrated with each other. It’s definitely going to be a struggle, but I would like to see us come out of it and be better players and better teammates.”
Columbus Christian’s 2015-16 girls basketball schedule:
Saturday;Washington Catholic;5 p.m.
Nov. 12;at Indiana Deaf;6 p.m.
Nov. 20;Southside Christian;5 p.m.
Nov. 21;Granger Christian (at Bloomington);noon
Nov. 21;at Dugger Union;6 p.m.
Nov. 28;at Owen Valley;3 p.m.
Nov. 28;at Providence Cristo Rey;5:30 p.m.
Dec. 4;Horizon Christian;6:30 p.m.
Dec. 5;Madison Shawe;5 p.m.
Dec. 7;Madison Christian;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 8;Martinsville Tabernacle;5 p.m.
Dec. 11;Bloomington Lighthouse;6:15 p.m.
Dec. 14;Christel House Academy;6 p.m.
Dec. 19;at Cannelton Tournament;TBA
Jan. 2;at Medora;4:30 p.m.
Jan. 9;at Hauser;5:45 p.m.
Jan. 15;at Southside Christian;6 p.m.
Jan. 15;at Crothersville;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 16;Canneltonl6 p.m.
Jan. 19;Crosspointe Christian;5:30 p.m.
Jan. 26;Colonial Christian;5:45 p.m.
Jan. 30;Providence Cristo Rey;5:30 p.m.
Feb. 5;at Bloomington Lighthouse;6:15 p.m.
Feb. 12;at Horizon Christian;6:30 p.m.
Feb. 16;at Heritage Hall;5 p.m.