In basketball-crazy Indiana, many programs and communities claim to be king of the game. In Southern Indiana, Borden can make the argument as the hoops mecca of the state.
The Borden boys, now 9-1 and ranked No. 2, are the defending Class A state champions. That is no secret. But to qualify as a contender for the unofficial title of the ‘capital’ of the sport, both genders should enjoy success. And the Borden girls are quietly doing their part.
Terry Rademacher’s Braves were hoping to go 11-1 Thursday night against Orleans. and reach 200 wins for Rademacher in his two-stint, 16-season tenure with the program.
After starting the season without fanfare, with no votes in the preseason rankings, Borden is now No. 11 in the latest Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association poll.
“We’ve kind of done our work in secret maybe, but we’ve created our own path as far as being successful and creating expectations,” Rademacher said. “We’ve been doing it.
“We don’t have a whole lot of control over the people that do the voting in the polls. The only thing we control is how hard we play, the kind of attitude we have. Any recognition is extra. Our players know what we do, and our fans know what we do.”
What does Borden do? Rademacher, a math teaher, has a simple equation: play hard, play defense, pass the ball.
That works. Borden ranks among the state leaders while allowing only 35.2 points per game. They have experience with four returning starters from last year’s 13-7 team, and the leading scorer (Natalie Ruedinger at 17.9) was the top reserve.
“We play pretty good defense most of the time,” Rademacher said. “Offensively, we’re very unselfish and take good shots. We try to play that way year after year, we try to emphasize the same things. And we have some talented players.”
The starting nucleus, including Carson Casey (9.5 points per game), Shelby Kirchgessner (9.1), Abby Ellis and Kristen Nestor, was along for the ride when Borden won the 2012 sectional and advanced to the regional final at West Washington.
“They’ve been on winning teams, they’ve played with good players,” Rademacher said. “They’re just continuing it. I can’t say any of it has surprised me. We’ve just been playing closer to our abilities more consistently than a lot of teams do. We’ve had good execution and have played pretty. This group plays extremely hard all the time, and that leads to good things.”
The Braves have future tests, starting with a road trip to Class 4-A Seymour on Saturday and a showdown with Henryville for the Southern Athletic Conference lead on Jan. 23. They will already own a 52-32 win over sectional rival New Washington, which will make them the pre-tournament favorite.
“We just look to always be improving, and whatever happens, happens,” Rademacher said. “We will worry about other things when they get there.”