His sophomore season, Hauser’s Ryan Christy never took it for granted that he always would be part of a winning program.
Coach Bob Nobbe had just led the Jets to the sectional title and a 17-7 overall record.
“When we won when I was a sophomore, I knew it didn’t guarantee anything the next season,” Christy said.
He was right. The Jets slipped to 1-20 as myriad problems plagued the team through a long season.
But just as winning wasn’t a sure thing, neither was losing. The Jets are off to a 4-5 start in Christy’s senior season, and the losses either have been to much bigger programs or in games that came down to the wire.
“Last season was another learning experience,” said Christy, a 6-foot-3 center. “It was a tough one. We saw what happens when things don’t go our way. But it brought us closer, and it definitely made us work harder. We didn’t want to do that again.”
Christy has worked hard since his sophomore season, when he was 6-1 and trying to contribute alongside much more experienced players.
“I had jitters,” he said. “Nervousness. Everybody seemed stronger, faster, bigger.
“But we had really good senior leadership on that team, and I want to be a good senior leader for these guys. I can do that by just doing what’s best for the team and helping to push my teammates.”
Christy has averaged eight points and six rebounds a game, but he also gets the assignment of guarding the opponent’s biggest player.
“He anchors our post,” Nobbe said. “He is our tallest, biggest guy. He gives us a big body and an offensive presence. We expect him to pull down a large number of rebounds. His technique is very strong.”
Although the Jets have more losses than wins this season, Christy is excited about their potential for the sectional tournament and perhaps beyond.
“Overall, this team has improved,” he said. “Playing teams like Columbus North, Franklin and Greensburg can hurt you mentally, but it makes you work harder. I feel we’ve made improvements by great leaps and bounds.”
Although the Jets would like to forget last season ever happened, it can be a reminder of how much they have grown.
“Part of you wants to forget it,” Christy said. “But it pushes you to do the small things to improve.
“And we always are together. We are a family.”
If the Jets have formed a family, Christy has become the respected older brother.
“He has worked hard the last three years to improve his skills,” Nobbe said. “He spent a lot of time lifting and he has a good attitude.
“He helps the little kids in our basketball camp, and he works the Future Jets games as a referee. He likes to be around the game. He is just a nice, young man and a positive personality. It leads to him being well-liked.”
Like several of the Jets, he has seen his team hit a very low point, and that made a huge impression. So did being part of a winning team his sophomore year.
“He has seen (the winning side),” Nobbe said. “He is motivated to work toward that success. It’s a lot easier having tasted it and having experience with it.”
Nobbe said it also has made Christy stronger that he had to work through the 1-20 season.
“All of our guys, last year pushes them,” Nobbe said. “Last year was not a pleasant experience. But it was very much a learning experience, and they all met on the other side. It’s a new opportunity.”