ANDERSON — Liberty Christian was about four minutes away from its first boys basketball regional championship last March.
Then perennial powerhouse Lafayette Central Catholic rallied late in the fourth quarter, and the Lions' magical season ended with a 77-68 loss at Frankfort's Case Arena.
Gone. But not forgotten.
"Everybody on the team has a bracelet with the score on it as a daily reminder," Liberty Christian coach Jason Chappell said. "We know what we have to do. We kind of vowed we didn't want that to happen again."
The Lions lost four significant contributors — Terrence Campbell, Thatcher Rouse, Remington Emery and Austin Castor — from last year's 20-6 team. But the core of a squad that averaged 70.1 points per game returns.
And people around the state have taken notice.
Liberty Christian has reached the regional final in each of the past two seasons and is ranked No. 8 in Class 1A in The Associated Press' preseason poll. The Lions opened at No. 10 a year ago, and the novelty already has worn off a bit.
"We've been able to beat teams that were ranked pretty high," Chappell said. "And some teams that weren't ranked very high have beaten us. You've gotta play the game."
That's something junior point guard Chris Nunn does extremely well.
The 5-foot-10 speedster led the Lions with 14.9 points and 4.1 assists per game. His phone — and Chappell's — has been ringing off the hook with colleges interested in his future services.
But his focus remains very much on the present.
Nunn attended a leadership camp this summer and, according to Chappell, came back as a different kid. He's always trended toward the quiet side, but now he's not afraid to speak up when he has a message he feels his teammates need to hear.