A funny thing happened to Caroline Andreassen on the way to her senior season.
For three years Andreassen was Calvary Christian’s starting point guard. She was the best player on a struggling team that never won a district tournament game. If she didn’t try to score 30 points a night, the Warriors probably weren’t going to win.
This season Andreassen’s points are down, and she couldn’t be happier.
Over the summer, freshman twins Carley and Savannah Plentovich, both ball-handling scorers, enrolled at Calvary Christian. Carley averages 13.1 points; Savannah 14.5.
To make things better, 6-foot-2 volleyball player Rachel Mostert joined the basketball team after a two-year hiatus, instantly providing points and rebounding.
Suddenly, Andreassen is surrounded by talent. She doesn’t have to score every time down the floor, and her average is down from 17.7 points as a junior to 10.5.
After last season’s 7-14 finish the Warriors are 24-3 and in tonight’s Class 3A region final at Naples Community School.
“We were just a mediocre, average team,” Andreassen said. “When we started working out together over the summer, we set our goal to make states. We knew it was going to be a good team.
“We’re never going to have this team again, so we have to take full advantage of it.”
The Warriors suffered a tough loss to Boca Ciega in the second game of the season. Then they rattled off nine straight wins before losing to a good Seffner Christian team by five points.
Their other loss was to Harmony in the final of the Indian Rocks Christian Holiday tournament. Calvary has won 10 straight heading into tonight’s region final.
This season, the Warriors are a team instead of a few individuals.
“It used to be that (coach) Brooke (Sibert) would come up to me and say, ‘If we want to win tonight you have to score 30 points,’ ” Andreassen said. “That was scary, and there was a lot of pressure. I was shooting every time I got the ball.
“I had to get used to passing and having a post player, getting the ball inside and moving it around. It was a lot of work to get used to.”
While adding the Plentovich twins and Mostert, as well as returners Kasey Howard and Caitlyn Dollar, has made a difference, Sibert said Andreassen is still key to this team.
“We need her,” Sibert said. “She’s a great leader on this team and always has been. As a point guard, she has the leadership qualities that a coach looks for. She sees the game very well and she’s unselfish. She’s a great shooter and can handle the ball really well.”
Andreassen knows where the program was and where it is now. She remembers when winning was a big deal.
“We didn’t expect much out of ourselves then,” Andreassen said. “We didn’t have high standards. This year things just kind of took off.”
She realizes her last game in a Calvary Christian uniform could be today. Playing in February is a new experience, and Andreassen plans to enjoy it as long as she can.
“This can’t be our last game,” she said. “It’s very exciting right now. In some of the classrooms teachers have written stuff about the basketball team on the board. I was walking through the hall and heard some people talking about going to the game (today) . There’s a lot more buzz about us now. It’s Calvary and we’re not exactly the best at our sports, so it’s exciting to have us be the team right now.”