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Cancellation leads to Jets-Crusaders basketball showdowns

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Columbus Christian's Austin Straub, right, shoots over Martinsville Tabernacle's Nathan Gerber during their game last month at Columbus Christian School. (Tommy Walker/For The Republic).
Columbus Christian's Austin Straub, right, shoots over Martinsville Tabernacle's Nathan Gerber during their game last month at Columbus Christian School. (Tommy Walker/For The Republic).

HOPE — Hauser Athletics Director Dave Irvine had a problem. His athletics boosters had planned a benefit dinner Saturday to coincide with the boys basketball game at home against Brown County.

When Brown County canceled last week, the Jets had a hole in their schedule.

So Irvine took a trip over to Columbus Christian to watch the Crusaders (18-1) play.

Irvine was impressed with what he saw, and he struck a deal with Columbus Christian boys basketball coach and athletics director Kevin Roth to schedule games between the two programs.

So on Saturday, the Columbus Christian girls basketball team will play at Hauser at 4:30 p.m., followed by a game between the two varsity boys teams at 6 p.m.

A pork chop dinner to raise funds for the Hauser athletics program will be conducted  from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Hauser’s auditorium. It will be a free will offering for the dinner, which will include baked beans, cole slaw and dessert.

If you go

WHAT: Columbus Christian at Hauser girls basketball

WHEN: 4:30 p.m. Saturday

RECORDS: Columbus Christian 11-4; Hauser 6-7

WHAT: Columbus Christian at Hauser boys basketball

WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday

RECORDS: Columbus Christian 18-1; Hauser 3-4

“(Hauser boys basketball coach) Bob Nobbe had been asking me about getting Columbus Christian back on our schedule,” Irvine said. “And I’ve known some of the Columbus Christian athletes and their parents.

“On top of everything else, Kevin (Roth) is a great guy.”

Roth feels the same way about Irvine.

“Dave was a real big help to me when I started out as an athletic director,” Roth said. “He helped me with contacts. And Bob Nobbe always helped me as well with basketball stuff.”

Columbus Christian only has about 60 students from ninth to 12th grades, and it competes mostly against Christian schools. Columbus Christian and Hauser haven’t played each other in boys basketball since 2004, closing a two-year run between the programs. Hauser won both.

Whether a long-term series makes sense remains to be seen. However, Saturday’s boys basketball match-up should be interesting.

Although Columbus Christian has compiled its record against tiny schools, the Crusaders are 7-0 against Indiana High School Athletic Association Class A teams. Hauser, an IHSAA Class A team, is 3-4 overall but 2-1 against Class A competition.

Hauser’s only loss against a Class A team was a 57-56 loss to Edinburgh.

“I think we can show people what a quality program we have,” Roth said. “This will be a barometer for us to see where our program is at.”

Hauser has had just two losing seasons in the past nine years.

“I love being able to play a school that’s around here,” said Columbus Christian senior Dalane Shaull. “My friends come up and say that we’re a little school that nobody knows about. It’s exciting for me to be playing against Hauser.”

Crusaders junior Josh Miracle said that for him, playing Hauser won’t be different than the other games this season.

“We are going to be competitive,” he said. “There is no pressure.”

Miracle said his team’s chemistry will be the same, no matter the opponent.

“We’ve all been playing together for a while,” he said.

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