STEENS — When Steve Foreman learned his daughter Audrey was joining the Columbus Christian Academy junior varsity girls basketball team, he made sure the sixth-grader knew what she was getting into.
“You know you’re going to be riding the bench, don’t you?” Foreman asked her.
Then he saw her practice.
“Well,” Foreman said to himself, “I guess I’m wrong.”
Audrey saw time on the court even that season, started for the JV team from seventh to ninth grade and started for the varsity squad ever since.
Soon, she’ll be a newcomer again, but if her history is any indication, Foreman will be on the floor before too long.
On Tuesday morning, the Columbus Christian senior signed to play basketball at Mississippi University for Women, guaranteeing she won’t be going far.
“I’m excited to see everybody come out and support me next year,” Foreman said.
She initially wasn’t sure if she wanted to stay in Columbus, but talking to family and friends who assured her they’ll be in the stands helped her with the decision.
It was a choice Foreman never thought she’d get to make.
“It’s exciting because I didn’t expect to play in college, so when I got the opportunity I was very nervous,” she said.
When MUW offered Foreman a spot on the team, she wasn’t sure. She worried about being able to handle a full course load and fulfill her athletic responsibilities simultaneously.
But a campus tour and reassuring words from Owls coach Drew Johnson helped.
“Grades come first,” Johnson told Foreman. “You’ll always have time for that.”
After that visit, Foreman said, she was “all in” on playing for MUW. The longtime Ram, now in her 13th year at the school, grew into her game the past few seasons, helping to lead Columbus Christian to the MAIS Class 2A championship game this season. Foreman was named to the all-tournament team in the district, north state and state events as the senior-laden Rams made a strong run.
“We’d come so close in our past years, and to actually get to win north state and come so close in state and get runner-up was really exciting for a farewell,” Foreman said.
Still, she said, moving on will be “bittersweet.” Foreman attended Columbus Christian’s elementary school basketball camps every summer and was the only current Ram who has played with the team since sixth grade.
“I’ve been playing the longest out of everybody on my team,” Foreman said. “It’s fun. I’m glad I’ve gotten to play here every year.”