The college basketball season for both men's and women's teams is finishing up its first month of play, with a number of local players making big impacts.
One school that has benefited greatly from local stars is Capital University in Columbus. The Crusaders' women's team is 8-0 overall and 3-0 in the Ohio Athletic Conference this season.
Again leading the way for the Lady Crusaders is senior guard Sara Heitkamp. The 5-6 All-American from Fort Recovery is doing it all for Dixie Jeffers' team, leading the Crusaders in scoring with 15.5 points per game, rebounding at 6.5 points per game (sharing the lead with teammate Jennifer Lilly, who stands five inches taller at 5-11) and also leads the team with four assists and just over four steals per game.
The Crusaders host Baldwin-Wallace on Saturday at the Capital Center. The Crusader men, coached by former St. Marys and University of Dayton star Damon Goodwin, are 4-4 on the season but are 2-1 in the OAC.
St. Henry grad Nate Stahl has already made an impact as a freshman on the team. Stahl has started all eight games on the season and is second on the team in scoring at 12.1 ppg. Stahl also leads the team with 14 three-pointers and is second on the team in rebounding at 4.9 boards per game.
Former Redskin teammate Ross Niekamp is also seeing playing time for Capital. Appearing in six games, Niekamp is averaging 2.2 points in 5.8 minutes of action.
Homan charging up Hillsdale
The Chargers of Hillsdale College are 6-1 out of the gate and are unbeaten in four Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference games this season.
Sophomore Tim Homan (Celina) continues to be one of the dominant players for the Chargers this season. Averaging 31.6 minutes per game in seven starts, Homan is third on the team with 11.6 points per game and leads the team with 5.3 rebounds per game. Homan's .475 field-goal percentage is fifth best on the team.
Lefeld playing well for Falcons
Bowling Green has struggled out of the gate, having lost three straight after Saturday's 68-60 loss to Arkansas-Little Rock. The 2-5 Falcons did pull off a big win this season in beating Virginia Tech, 72-71, in Blacksburg.
Junior center Matt Lefeld (Coldwater) has found his spot in coach Dan Dakich's rotation this season. Lefeld has started five of six appearances this season and is averaging 25.5 minutes per game.
The 6-11 Lefeld leads the team in rebounding at 5.7 boards per game and is averaging 9.0 points per game this season. Lefeld is coming off a career game against UALR, scoring 17 points. The Falcons will look to break this losing streak on Saturday as they play Florida State in Mobile, Alabama.
Niekamp solid off bench for Oilers
After going to the Division II Elite Eight last season, the Unviersity of Findlay has started out strong at 6-2 this season.
Oiler junior Tyler Niekamp (Fort Recovery) has seen quality playing time for coach Ron Niekamp, who is Tyler's uncle.
Tyler Niekamp has played in all eight Oiler games this season with two starts. Niekamp is averaging 3.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
Haines solid for Panthers
Ohio Dominican has jumped out to an 8-3 start and is 2-1 in the American Mideast Conference South Division.
Sophomore Krissy Haines (St. Marys) has been a spark for the Panthers this season. Haines has played in nine games with four starts and is averaging 17.1 minutes per game. Haines is third on the team with 10.2 points per game.
Brand's solid shooting pacing Bears
Ohio Northern's 4-2 start to the season has been helped by sophomore Erin Brand (Marion), who has been a solid part of the Bears the past two seasons. Brand is shooting 46.6 percent from the floor and is second in scoring average with 12.0 points per game.
Osterfeld contributor to Blue Raiders
Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky has started its season at 5-4 and has played a tough schedule.
Blue Raider sophomore guard Kara Osterfeld (Celina), who was a solid contributor last season, continues to be a key sub off the bench. Osterfeld has played in all nine games -- with two starts -- in averaging 16 minutes per game. Osterfeld is averaging 4.2 points and 2.1 rebounds per game this season.
Lady Norse staying solid
Northern Kentucky, a national power in NCAA Division II, are off to a solid start again at 5-2.
A pair of Minster hoop stars are key contributors to the Lady Norse's success.
Junior forward Brittany Winner is in the starting lineup and averaging 28.7 minutes per game this season. Winner is averaging 8.1 points and 4.7 rebounds a game.
Freshman Karen Brackman has seen time in six of the seven games this season, averaging 8.8 minutes per game. Brackman, a guard, is averaging 2.8 ppg.
Boeke cleans the boards for Butler
Butler has started out slowly in going 2-5 to start the season, but Minster grad and senior forward Steph Boeke has been a constant contributor. The 5-10 forward is second on the team in rebounding with 5.1 caroms per game. Playing in all seven games with four starts, Boeke is averaging 4.1 ppg.