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Heritage Christian ready to take aim at Class 2A state title
January 30, 2013VYPE MAGAZINE - Central Indiana
By Erica Rath
For VYPE Magazine (Central Indiana)
The girls varsity basketball program at Heritage Christian has become a mainstay at the top of the rankings in girls high school basketball in Indiana. A little more than a decade ago, Mark Richards played an instrumental role in helping Heritage become part of the Indiana High School Athletic Association.
After Mark Richards passed away, his assistant coach, Rich Risinger took over the team and continued the tradition of success Richards had begun.
The program has been successful in the past, winning four Class 2A state titles and nine consecutive Indianapolis City Championships, including earlier this month. Heritage has also produced several Div. I basketball standouts and allowed the current team to dream of a bright future.
But this group of girls is focused on the here and now. They have the 2A state title in their sights and few would argue this goal is impossible for this team.
“The girls are prepared [to make a deep run] because of the success we’ve had during the regular season,” Risinger said referring to his team’s 19-2 record and No. 2 ranking.
Risinger and his team see the season split into three parts: the season itself, the city championship and the state tournament. Having successfully completed two-thirds of that triad, the next step has arrived.
What’s more: the roster does not consist of any seniors and just one junior.
“We are young, but we are so skilled,” Risinger said. “The girls have previous basketball experience and have come together so well as a team.”
The girls have tremendous focus and skill, but more importantly, they are friends. The team unity has become apparent in the way they play.
“This group is so close and have a lot of fun when they are playing,” Heritage Christian Athletic Director Michelle York said. “It’s really attractive to people and they want to watch. They run a fast-paced offense and bring a lot of energy to the floor. Our fan base really loves watching them play.”
Being that all of the girls on the team are underclassmen, this same group will be returning next season. Many would see this as a chance to use the current season as a stepping stone towards a bigger and better 2013-14 year, but these girls are not thinking that far ahead.
“It is exciting as far as the future, but we really don’t spend much time on that,” said Risinger. “It’s about trying to prepare on this final third of the season and that’s where our focus is right now.”
The team and coach Risinger have a few days to practice and sharpen their skills before heading into the state tournament. It has been since 2009 that the Eagles have been able to hang a banner on the wall claiming they are state champs.
“This is a really special group. We have girls here that love to play basketball,” York said.
The Eagles face Park Tudor on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at home in the first round of Sectional 42.