Church up for All-American hoops honors

Staff Report
Chante Church
Staff Photo |

McCOOK, Neb. — Former Rifle High School basketball standout Chante Church continued her basketball career at the college level, and the 2014 graduate had an impressive freshman year playing for the Indians of McCook Community College.

Church led the Indians in scoring as her 20.5 points-per-game scoring average ranked second in Region IX in scoring and ranked 14th in all of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Church was a model of consistency throughout the season for MCC, scoring in double figures in all 31 games for the two-year junior college.

Her performances this season led coach Jon Froelich to nominate Church to play in the NJCAA Coaches All-Star Game this summer in Florida. The roster for this event will be announced on May 19.

The 5-foot-7 Church was also nominated twice as the NJCAA Player of the Week and was the only freshman chosen to the Region IX first team. In addition, Church received several other postseason awards. She was a first-team Nebraska Community College Athletic Association selection, and was also named to the Omaha World Herald “All-Nebraska” squad.

Froelich said Church is deserving of all the recognition she has received.

“Chante had a tremendous season for us and is in a position where she will likely be one of the top recruits coming out of the junior college ranks in 2016,” Froelich said. “She set a school record for points in a season [636], and also hit 75 3s this season. We do not have a day when we are not contacted by a four-year college or university regarding Chante and their desire to recruit her in 2016.”

Froelich added that Church has received interest from “at least 50” different college basketball programs.

Church played most of the season with a stress fracture in her leg, but the injury did not prevent her from leading Region IX with 1,020 minutes played. For the season, Church shot 46.3 percent from 3-point range, finishing eighth in the nation. She was far from a one-dimensional offensive weapon for MCC, as the Criminal Justice major was just as tough on the defensive end, finishing the season with 77 steals (third in Region IX) while pulling down 5.1 rebounds per game. Church also dished out 89 assists, finishing 10th in Region IX.

The Indians finished 16-15, a record Froelich feels they should improve upon next season since all 12 players on the roster this past season were freshmen.

For Church, having a banner year is something she worked to accomplish.

“We had a good year, and I enjoyed the season,” Church said. “With the players we have returning, along with the new recruits we are adding to the team, we should be in a position to have an even better season in 2015-2016 at McCook.”

The MCC Booster Club also named Church the women’s basketball “Player of the Year” on the McCook campus. She also was a model student-athlete. Her grade-point average of 3.25 earned her a spot on the Region IX All-Academic squad, along with being named to the NCCAC All-Academic team.

“I am proud of what Chante accomplished, on and off the court this season,” Froelich said. “She shoots the ball well, and when you add in the fact she is a quality student and is so competitive on the court, she is going to be heavily recruited all next season.”

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