Last season, Christa Huber averaged 17 points per game on one of the best basketball teams to play for Paris. The Lady Eagles went 24-9, were 3A-4 District Tournament champions and went to the quarterfinals of the 3A State Tournament.
As the lone senior on this year’s team, Huber’s role has changed.
Her scoring is down considerably to about 10 points per game as she has gone from scoring leader to team leader on a squad that has the potential to be even better. Paris improved to 15-3 overall and is in first place at 5-0 in the conference standings with a win against Mansfield on Tuesday.
“Last year, my role was to score and this year my role is more to play point guard and spread the ball around and get it to the other girls,” Huber said. “All I want to do is win, so that’s fine with me.”
Paris coach Toby Tevebaugh said he had only the briefest of discussions with his returning star during the offseason about the new role. Sophomore Morgan Highfield and 6-foot-1 freshman Lycia Peevy were bringing a lot of scoring potential to the team, but the Eagles had to replace graduating point guard Halli Tencleve.
“I think we had one meeting in my office where I said, ‘You know we’ve got some other girls coming up from junior high and we need you to kind of take over at point and distribute the ball,’” Tevebaugh said. “Christa just said, ‘Sure, whatever it takes.’”
Tevebaugh said there has been almost no drama on this team and Huber is responsible for a lot of the good chemistry.
“The other girls call me ‘Mamma Huber,’” Huber said. “They say I am always mothering them and making sure everybody has matching outfits on and the right socks.”
Huber seems adept at smoothly changing roles. During football season she was the smiling blonde cheerleader and Homecoming Queen and during basketball season a gum-chomping, hard-nosed defender at the point.
“I like cheering and it was fun to get to be the Homecoming Queen,” Huber said. “But I really consider myself a basketball player first.”
One statistic that has increased for Huber this season is steals.
“Another role she had last year was defending the other team’s best scorer,” Tevebaugh said. “This year she can kind of gamble more and she has come up with some big steals at big times.”
With Paris protecting the lead late in games, Huber also handles the ball and draws most of the pressure free throws to ice the game.
“She is the one we want to have the ball in her hands when it’s late in the game,” Tevebaugh said. “She likes the pressure situations and has an outstanding overall free-throw percentage.”
While Paris is still a young team overall, hopes are high the team can make a run during the state tournament which will be held in nearby Charleston.
“We are still young and learning a lot each time out and getting better,” Tevebaugh said. “We are really fortunate to have a senior leader like Christa. She is just a great kid on and off the court and she is really the glue that holds this team together.”