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Eagle Ridge sets new plan after No. 2 finish
Eagle Ridge Christian School came within a win of a state championship last season.
Now Donna Powell is making a change that she hopes will get the team to the next step.
Last year's state runners-up in the Missouri Christian School Activities Association tournament will try its hand at man-to-man defense this year. That, combined with three returning starters, brings hope of another big season for coach Donna Powell.
"The three starters returning have played together a couple of years now," Powell said, "and we have more quickness than we had a year ago."
The team's biggest step up will be on defense, where last season's zone defense has been replaced by man-to-man coverage. Because of the quicker pace, Powell said, offseason conditioning has been a focus.
"I don't think there's anybody in our division who plays man-to-man," she said. "I haven't seen exceptional ball-handling skills from the teams we play, so I think this is something that would work to our advantage. We're doing well with it so far."
Rachel Carbaugh, a 5-foot-7 guard, will play a key role in helping the team make the change. One of only two seniors on the team, Carbaugh excels as a team leader, Powell said. She'll be called upon to complement the scoring of Autumn Crowden, a 5-8 sophomore who averaged a team-leading 15 points per game last season.
Rachel Huebel, a 5-9 sophomore, joins Carbaugh and Crowden as returning starters.
"We have short-term and long-term goals," Powell said. "Our biggest goal is just to show good character. I just want 100 percent out of each player each game."