The Immanuel Lutheran Christian Academy (ILCA) Crusaders have been dominating in every category of sports. At this time of the year, volleyball has ended and football is heading into the playoffs, all leading up to the new basketball season.
A season ago, the Lady Cru finished a tough season that saw them last in their conference. This year the girl’s team is looking to bounce back with a new coaching staff and a new attitude for the season.
As basketball season begins, new players come to join the strong ILCA basketball program. A new player who has never played basketball is sophomore Melody Bland.
“Volleyball has helped me be able to move around and get to the ball. In basketball, you have to move around to get open for the ball and it keeps me in shape before the basketball season.
Weightlifting class is taught by Coach Emsy Clarke and has been a contributing factor to the ILCA athletic program. It has helped the athletes stay in shape and grow stronger. Bland believes this is a key reason why she has improved in her sports and is ready for the future.
“It has given me strength especially with my legs. I don’t do a lot of running so with strength and conditioning it has helped with running,” Bland said.
Sophomore Emily Farrell, a starting varsity player for ILCA, is excited to work with 1st-year Assistant Coach Jordan Jones.
“We have a new assistant coach, he’s more energetic. He has already helped us with our dribbling skills, and with our layups. Since we lost some good old players, we are learning all the positions,” Farrell said.
Similar to Bland, Farrell enjoys the weightlifting program ILCA has instituted. Farrell feels more confident as the season begins due to the program.
“It’s made me stronger, I can now shoot it from 3pt land and actually make it this year,” Farrell said.
As a basketball season begins, it can be struggling to play with new players. This can bring out different attitudes and views on what the team should be like. Farrell wants this year to be different when it comes to attitude.
“All of us need to keep a positive attitude. That’s our main goal is to keep a positive and winning attitude,” Farrell said.
Sophomore Christian Thomas is more ready for this season than he has ever been. He believes the entire team itself has worked together to improve their cohesiveness.
“I feel great about it, we’ve all been working hard and we are ready to pick up where we left off last year,” Thomas said.
A season ago the boy’s team finished third in the conference, falling to Liberty Christian. The varsity boys, however, were not satisfied with their season-ending. This year, the varsity boy team looks to take their conference by storm.
When it comes to Thomas and his personal skill set, he has chosen to instead focus on being a team player and helping each individual become better on the court. Thomas came off the 2018-2019 season averaging 18.3 ppg while averaging 2.2 apg.
“I’ve tried to change every perspective of my game. Passing, shooting, dribbling, jumping, and being more of a team player than being a single player,” Thomas said.
While players work on their game, Coach Taylor Mueller watches and provides the help they need to improve. Coming into the new basketball season will be a challenge, but Coach Mueller has the confidence in his players that they will succeed.
“I am extremely excited. We have a lot of potential this year, we have the capability to do some extraordinary things. We have a really solid group of guys coming back and some new guys coming in that will be contributors,” Coach Mueller said.
Although a championship would be favorable at the end of each season, Coach Mueller has other goals as well.
“My main goal for this entire season is for every single one of our basketball players to give their best effort and to do their best. I think if we do those two things, in particular, the other results will take care of themselves,” Coach Mueller said.
Although the Crusader boys are ready for this season, Coach Mueller has a personal team goal.
“I love our intensity, I love how we play with passion, and with fire. I don’t mind if we show emotion I think it’s important to show emotion. We just got to make sure we show the right kind emotion whether it’s on the court, or in the locker room, or even in the classroom. Stay together and single-minded in our goals and alongside each other,” Coach Mueller said.
The Crusaders have been excelling in every sport so far. As the fall sports end, the Crusaders do not plan on stopping there. The Crusader basketball teams are ready for the season and ready to take the basketball program to the next step.