The Eagles made a big leap in year two under head coach Matt Schauss.
Columbia City improved its win total by seven games and finished above .500 for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
Columbia City will be led by Andrew Hedrick, who scored 16.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in 2021-22. Hedrick’s assists numbers did dip last year but expect all of those numbers to increase as he’s one of just a few with serious varsity minutes.
“We will be led by Andrew Hedrick, who will elevate the game of each of his teammates. He’s a special talent who will prove that he’s one of the best, if not the best, players in the area,” Schauss said.
Hedrick can score at all three levels and is a ball hawk on defense and on the glass. His style of play will allow others to get open and knock down shots.
Seniors Rhet Wilson and Clayton Scott are the only other returners for the Eagles. Wilson played more than Scott and averaged 2.8 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. But look for both to have an increased role and provide some senior leadership this team will need.
The rest of the roster is made up of newcomers, including sophomore Stratton Fuller and juniors Brady Hartman, Aiden Denning, Kam Hoag and Tyler Crosson.
Fuller has shown early in his prep career that he’s one of the top athletes in the area. He’s coming off a stellar football season where he shine in big moments and even made a season-saving play to help give the Eagles their first sectional title in nearly 30 years.
Columbia City should be in the mix in the Northeast 8 Conference. Most teams are like the Eagles with a lot of new faces. If everyone settles into their roles, Columbia City will end up near the top of the conference.
Coach Schauss has done a great job of getting the most of his guys. He has a proven top 10 player in the area in Hedrick with some promising athletes that will bring a lot of energy and physicality to the court each night.
WHY NOT HIGHER?
Simply, it’s the lack of proven scoring after Hedrick. Wilson played quite a bit as a junior but the rest of the roster is fairly new to the varsity level. Columbia City should be in every game this season but what happens when everyone in the gym knows who is going to take the shot?
Dec. 17 vs. Wayne
The Generals are poised to be very good this season so this will be a good early test for the Eagles. Wayne has several different threats and will be a lot for Columbia City to handle on the defensive end. The Generals will want to speed up the Eagles and we get to see how they manage it.
Andrew Hedrick, senior
This was an easy choice. The Eagles will go as far as Hedrick takes them. Hedrick is the type of player that just goes all out on each and every play and can do the intangible things you look for. Hedrick took on the challenge of being the go-to guy and thrived in that role. He was able to elevate an experienced group of teammates last year, but this season, he’ll have to do it with a bunch of new faces.