Sports reporter

Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.

CROWN POINT — Mya Scheidt is a warrior.

She is an incredibly gifted basketball player.

But timing is everything in this life, as the Crown Point senior learned after her Bulldogs lost to E.C. Central 45-33, with Scheidt scoring 14 points.

In middle school at Taft, her girls basketball team went undefeated in conference and only lost two games. But when they arrived at C.P.H.S., several teammates chose to focus on one sport.

The Bulldogs' volleyball team played in the Class 4A state finals in November. C.P.'s softball team won the state softball championship last June.

Crown Point hasn't won a girls basketball sectional since 2001.

Again, timing is everything.

When Hall of Fame coach Tom May took Crown Point to two state championships and one runner-up in the 1980s and another runner-up in the '90s, almost every top athlete in town played basketball.

It was the school's identity in many ways.

Today, families and kids make choices at a young age with many athletic opportunities to pick from. Volleyball and softball have hurt girls hoops at many schools in the Region, not just C.P.

"Honestly, it wasn't that tough," Scheidt said of watching her teammates opt out of basketball. "We had other girls who wanted to play and their hearts were in it."

Scheidt will play at the University of Indianapolis next year. But in another era this talented young lady would have certainly cut down some nets.

C.P. coach Chris Seibert understood quickly things would have to change in the Hub's hoops landscape. He copied Clint Swan's youth basketball program which has brought great success to the Bulldogs' boys program.

From fourth grade on, Crown Point has two teams playing basketball every chance they get.

"This is my third year here and the skill level has really increased with our younger kids," Seibert said. "It's exciting."

Of his core eight players on varsity this winter, six were freshmen or sophomores. There is some budding talent brewing in C.P.

Abby Stoddard is a 6-foot sophomore, whose mother, Chris Bishop, was The Times Player of the Year in 1989 at Lake Central. And Abby's sister, Lilly, is a 6-foot-4 eighth-grader.

"My mom pushes me every day," Abby Stoddard said. "She gives me pointers. We watch film every day, looking at ways for me to get better."

Boy, this sounds like things said back in the '80s doesn't it?

Alyna Santiago is a 5-foot-6 freshman guard, who played well against the Cardinals on Friday night. Her sister, Alyvia, is one of the top eighth graders in the system.

Their mom, Susan Chabes, was a very good player for May back in the day.

"My mom inspires me," Alyna Santiago said. "My grandparents show me old videos of her playing in Pups. She always had that fight. I want to do the same thing now."

It's been awhile since the Crown Point gym was packed with fans screaming, "We are C.P." over and over again. Or regional or semistate or state gyms filled with the same sounds.

Timing is everything.

The future looks bright for the Bulldogs, if the same kind of measures continue. There are enough female athletes in this growing community to have great programs in multiple sports.

Girls basketball first put this town on the map many years ago. And it could happen again. One young player at a time.

"We want to get the program back to where it once was," Stoddard said with a look of sincerity in her eyes. "That is what we want to do."

Who knows?

The times could be just right.

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This column solely represents the writer’s opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

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