Highlighting Stan Benge’s first 29 years coaching girls high school basketball in Indiana are the four state championships he won at Ben Davis.
Only once in the nearly three decades has he ended a season with a losing record.
Now in his fourth year at Roncalli, Benge is presented with a familiar challenge — accruing victories after graduating his program’s career scoring leader.
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Lindsey Corsaro and her 1,904 points have headed west to UCLA.
If the Rebels are to again emerge as one of the top teams in Class 4A this season, those who return from last season’s run to the Richmond Semistate will have to increase their contributions at both ends of the floor.
This includes junior shooting guard Ellie Bischoff.
A former Center Grove student, Bischoff, a 5-foot-9 guard, transferred to Roncalli in time for the 2015-16 school year. Her first season in a Rebels uniform resulted in averages of 5.2 points and 1.3 rebounds.
Benge expects more this time around.
So, too, does Bischoff.
“Last year it was Lindsey who mostly had the ball, but it was a really good experience. A fun season,” Bischoff said. “This season I’m going to have to step up and handle the basketball more and be more of a leader.”
Bischoff is coming off a sophomore campaign in which she made good on 40 of 124 attempts from behind the 3-point stripe. Only Corsaro, with 43, made more, while returning point guard Paige Saylor, a 5-6 senior, made 36.
Whatever contributions Bischoff makes begin with Roncalli’s regular-season opener against visiting Perry Meridian on Nov. 8.
The Rebels’ other Johnson County player, 5-6 senior guard Claire Whalen, isn’t so fortunate.
Whalen, a Greenwood resident who sustained a knee injury over the summer, isn’t expected to return until the second half of the regular season.
Bischoff started more than half the Rebels’ games last season, according to Benge, who guided the program to a 24-5 finish. Roncalli lost to 4A runner-up Columbus North, 55-48, at semistate.
This past summer she played for Indiana Elite, an AAU team coached by Ron Patberg, father of former Columbus North standout Ali Patberg, Indiana’s Miss Basketball for 2015.
Bischoff used it as an opportunity to expand her hoops skillset be it handling the basketball, crashing the boards or learning to score with her back to the basket.
“Ellie came to Roncalli and really helped us as a shooter,” Benge said of Bischoff. “This year she’s going to have to rebound and defend. She’s gotten a little stronger and a little better as far as her overall game.”
Roncalli, which has finished 10 straight seasons with a winning record, would like nothing more than to bump that number to 11.
Benge has an eight-year run of .500-plus records going. The coach’s lone losing mark was his 2005-06 Ben Davis squad that finished 9-12.
“Our team this season has the potential to go far,” Bischoff said. “All of us are going to have to do more, but I think we have the players.”
Coach: Stan Benge
Last year: 24-5; lost to Columbus North in Richmond Semistate
Who’s back: Anna Bauer, Ellie Bischoff, Sophie Daniel, Lauren Fey, Katelyn McClary, Paige Saylor, Claire Whalen.
Who’s gone: Lindsey Corsaro, Daesjah Ely, Kristen Reece, Rachel Titzer, Gwen Woehler.
New kids on the block: Alana Vinson, Ellie Hammerschmitt, Maggie Schoening, Jada Moran, Riley Samuelson.
Outlook: The post-Corsaro era begins after the Rebels posted a record of 85-21 in the four seasons the program’s career scoring leader was around. Saylor returns as one of central Indiana’s premier point guards from last season’s Class 4A semistate qualifier. Not as talented overall as in recent years, the Rebels will need to out-effort opponents in order to record what would be Roncalli’s 11th consecutive winning season.
Benge says: “It will be interesting. Paige is awfully good. We have girls who had to play different roles in the past. We will have to be more fundamental, make better passes and keep our defensive intensity for 32 minutes.”
Nov. 8;Perry Meridian;7:30 p.m.
Nov. 10;at Pike;7:30 p.m.
Nov. 12;Guerin Catholic;7:30 p.m.
Nov. 17;Chatard;7:30 p.m.
Nov. 19;Cathedral;7:30 p.m.
Nov. 23;at Ritter;7:30 p.m.
Nov. 29;at Whiteland;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 1;at Heritage Christian;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 6-10;Marion County tournament;TBA
Dec. 16;Brebeuf Jesuit;6 p.m.
Dec. 21;at Lawrence North;7:30 p.m.
Dec. 23;at Ben Davis, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 28;Covenant Christian Tournament;TBA
Jan. 4;Franklin Central;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 6;at Beech Grove;6 p.m.
Jan. 12;at Brebeuf Jesuit;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 14;Center Grove;1:30 p.m.
Jan. 18;at Chatard;7:30 p.m.
Jan. 21;at Guerin Catholic,1:30 p.m.
Jan. 26;Columbus North,7:30 p.m.