XENIA — The culture established within Legacy Christian girls basketball is staying on course this season.
A 46-8 win against Yellow Springs at home on Thursday isn’t the proper measuring stick to how well the Knights’ players are developing.
Taking a look at the way the team shares the ball and hustles back on defense, you can see the talent they possess. Also checking out the smiles shared not only with one another, but alongside the players in the other uniform is what head coach Mark Combs looks for on the floor.
“I think that they truly desire to honor what the school is all about,” he said. “We want to combine this reality between our faith and our competition. We believe this, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do this of competing at the highest level and be good.”
Legacy Christian is now 7-0 in the 2022-23 campaign after Thursday’s win in Metro Buckeye Conference play. Winners of at least a share of six straight league titles, the Knights have all but one of its key players from a year ago returning in its quest for a seventh which is off to a rousing start.
The win against Yellow Springs has already taken LCA a step closer at 2-0, but that’s not what Combs said he took away from the game. Rather, he sees how his team continues to challenge itself through on court success and the strength of faith and self-improvement which can be taken off of it.
“We’ve talked about how to honor your competition by not allowing yourself to make them a spectacle,” Combs said of the approach to the Yellow Springs game. “We enjoy playing you and there’s things we can work on, but we don’t have to make you the brunt of this competitive energy. We kind of want them to have some success.
“In some sense, that’s really what competition is to partner with each other to make each other better. That always looks a little different. If we play a team just as good as us, it’s kind of a knockdown drag out game, but then also you can agree to play in a manner that helps them become better and they reciprocate that.”
Combs said it takes discipline for his players to want to improve while honoring that sort of commitment.
Seniors like Caroline Kensinger provides leadership which flows not just through his current team, but also down to the junior high players coming up.
Combs enjoyed the way the team gave everyone a chance with the ball and didn’t chuck up shots. Or that everyone celebrates when players who don’t get as much time on the floor do big things, such as Hadassah Oliver knocking down four three-pointers against the Bulldogs after having only scored 16 career points in two seasons.
As Thursday’s game wrapped up, there were numerous chances for LCA to rack up points on the scoreboard. And they were happy to be winning, but it was clear they shared just as much joy not seeing an overwhelmed opponent not be discouraged and trying to the end as well.
The way Legacy Christian is building character away from the court continues to lead to big things when they hit the hardwood.
“I think they’re all great,” Combs said of his players. “They come from great families and there’s an expectation of growth that flows through that reality. In some ways, I feel I get to be a benefactor of that too from them because I’m their coach or an authority figure in their life.”