One of the biggest questions in the offseason for the Columbus East girls basketball team was the point guard position.
That position has been a staple for the Olympians over the past seven years, but coach Danny Brown is confident he found the answer. Senior Allison Craig has filled the void for the Olympians. In her first year starting, it’s been a much bigger role and adjustment for her, but she’s lived up to the task so far this early in the season.
As much confidence that Brown has in Craig, she’s also gained the trust and confidence from her team.
“A lot of (my success) comes back to my teammates,” Craig said. “They have done an awesome job of whenever I make a mistake and get down on myself, they always lift me back up. Especially this year, they’ve done a great job of instilling confidence in me, which has helped me succeed.”
Winning the starting role was never going to be an easy task.
For the past couple years, she’s watched, studied and learned from one of the most decorated players to come through the program in Koryn Greiwe, the school’s all-time leading scorer.
“Knowing that I’m going to be playing against super-athletic guards at the varsity level, I knew I had to learn how to really dribble under pressure with quick defenses,” Craig explained.
Columbus East’s Allison Craig, left, is fouled by East Central’s Anna Black during a basketball game at Columbus East High School in Columbus, Ind., Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.
The Republic file photo
Brown recalls being in a similar situation back in 2011 when he needed a point guard after Alicia Hopkins graduated. He turned to Courtney Ogle, who, like Craig, was going to be an incoming senior the following year.
“She’s been behind Koryn for three years. She paid attention to how she handled the ball and in certain situations. She’s worked so hard at it,” Brown said. “She kept a great attitude and kept getting better and better. She’s leading the team. She’s taken on that role, and she’s a competitor. She’s getting more comfortable each game. She’s playing against the toughest schedule in the history of the school, and there’s a lot more to come. She’s handled the pressure really well.”
Craig is a multisport athlete and finished up her soccer season in October as an All-Hoosier Hills Conference first-team selection and an Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association second-team All-State selection.
“In soccer, our coach (Ilya Schwartzman) puts us through a lot of conditioning, which helped build on my athleticism, which I rely on more for soccer,” Craig said. “For basketball, I had to work more on my skill. I rely more on my technical skill to succeed in basketball.”
It’s been a very tough stretch for the Olympians to start the season at 4-4. They played their first six games over a 10-day period. Tonight’s home matchup with Bloomington North will be East’s ninth game in 20 days.
This season, Craig is second on the team both in scoring at 7.8 points per game and with 1.6 assists per contest.
“Allison is a great student-athlete, so she studies the game like she did in soccer,” Brown said. “She brings the skill set of basketball, but also brings that mindset she wants to be better. You don’t get that combination very often where they want to get better and better, and she brings that. She learns from each game. There’s going to be times they’re going to be after her, and we’ve already seen that so far. She can handle the pressure. She’s going to learn from it and get better. We’re proud of her right now because she’s doing a heck of a job.”