By Brad Morris
The progress that the New Hope Christian Academy girls basketball team has made during the past three seasons has pointed toward the 2022-23 season and a big goal.
Win an Ohio Christian School Athletic Association state championship.
“We have four seniors that never had the luxury of developing on a JV team,” New Hope coach Brian McCallister said. “We play the most challenging OHSAA schedule we can, and these girls have always competed and win or lose have never lost sight of our mission of spreading the Word of God through basketball.
“We have been OCSAA state runner-up twice in three years and hope that challenging schedule prepares us to take that next step toward a state championship.”
The center piece of the Statesmen is 5-foot-11 senior forward Maren McCallister, who has given a verbal commitment to NCAA Division II Concord University. McCallister averaged 22.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 3.4 assists in earning third-team All-Ohio honors as a junior.
“Maren leads us in all statistical categories but more importantly she is the competitive heart of the team,” McCallister said. “She gets people where they need to be and is a coach on the floor. This season we expect her to get her points but also get others involved in the offense more.”
It takes a team to win a championship and the Statesmen (12-11 in 2021-22, third in OCSAA state tournament) can turn to senior guard Jenna Tripp (8.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists) and senior forward Eden Leist (7.5 points, 6.1 rebounds) for a variety of contributions.
“Jenna has always been a great catch and shoot player but she has worked extremely hard on her shot off the dribble,” McCallister said. “She owns all of New Hope’s career three-point records and we expect her to be a double-digit scorer for us this year.
“Eden can play inside or out for us. She can get 10 points and 10 rebounds on any given night.”
Senior Ivy Hines will also provide valuable minutes once again this season for the Statesmen.
“Ivy is our emotional and moral compass,” McCallister said. “She loves the game and has gotten stronger each year. We expect her to have a great senior year.”
McCallister noted that Kayla Williams should get additional minutes this season after contributing last year as a freshman. Aubrey Christensen, a junior, worked to become stronger in the offseason and should also compete for important minutes.
The Statesmen tip-off the season on Nov. 21 when they travel to Bishop Ready.
No. Player Grade
2 Aubrey Christensen 11
4 Jenna Tripp 12
10 Eden Leist 12
13 Maren McCallister 12
14 Emma Pruitt 9
15 Ruby King 9
23 Ivy Hines 12
33 Chesnee Hines 9
35 Kayla Williams 10
Coach: Brian McCallister
Assistant coaches: David Tripp, David Christensen
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