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With seven returning players, including four starters, expectations are high for Christian Academy of Lawrenceburg basketball in 2010-11.
The Rams have already gotten their season underway, splitting their first two games, in a year when the Rams will be playing two Australian national teams and several of the top Christian school teams in Kentucky.
Christian Academy will also be playing Kentucky School for the Deaf, a public school.
“We have high expectations for this year,” Pitzer says. “We hopefully will compete for the AAA State and we plan on returning to the national (tournament).”
The Rams were a last-second 3-point shot away from winning the National Association of Christian Athletes tournament, held in Dayton, Tenn., in 2008.
The Rams compete in the Kentucky Christian Schools Athletic Association, an organization that allows home-schooled players to compete with the teams. Last season, the Rams finished fourth in the KCSAA state tournament, capping a season in which they finished 10-20.
Center Nathan Pitzer is the Rams' most experienced returnee. A senior, he saw action on the national runner-up team. At 6-foot-5, Pitzer gives the Rams a strong presence near the basket. Pitzer is capable ot putting up big numbers for the Rams.
Also back are both forwards, Zach Gray (6-1, Jr.) and Jason Smith (6-0, Fr.) and point guard Matthew Robinson, a 5-8 sophomore.
In a 50-38 win over Pendleton County Christian on Nov. 6, Gray and Smith went to war on the boards while Robinson hurt Pendleton with some slashing drives to the basked.
Replacing Zac Wiley will be the Rams' top challenge. In the early season, that job has gone to eighth-grader Dillon Harper (5-11), a nice shooter from the outside. Sophomore Forrest Bowman (6-2) gave the Rams solid play against Pendleton Christian and will see plenty or playing time. He could move into the starting lineup if the situation suggests.
Against Pendleton County Christian, the Rams broke away from a halftime tie to win going away. The attack was one of pushing the ball quickly but the Rams were not able to get in an offensive rhythm. “We are now going for a more controlled tempo,” Karl Pitzer said. “Not walk it down slowly, but not trying to push it fast up the court, either.”
In the season opener, the Rams fell at Bourbon County Christian, 71-60.
The Rams will return to action on Friday, Nov. 19 when they host Cornerstone Christian. Tipoff for the junior varsity game is set for 6:30 p.m.
Christian Academy, which plays its home games at Lawrenceburg United Methodist Church, must find consistent play-making if the Rams are to be successful on the court. The ingredients are there for a good finish.
“(Our) strengths would be seven returning players and good team size,” Karl Pitzer said. “Weaknesses would be too many turnovers and controlling the tempo of the game.”
E-mail John Herndon at email@example.com.