For The Tribune

Ty Christensen is a prime example that hard work pays off.

He split time between junior varsity and varsity his junior year and was coming off the Seymour bench at the start of this basketball season. He earned a spot in the starting lineup for the first game of 2015 against Switzerland County.

He made five 3-pointers and scored a varsity career-high 17 points against the Pacers, and he has scored in double figures in both games since.

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Christensen said the reason for his improvement is simple. Last summer he was always on the court.

“I just got in the gym a bunch during the summer to work on my shooting,” Christensen said.

He also played AAU and travel ball with a team from Indianapolis.

“We went all over and played in a bunch of different tournaments,” Christensen said. “We traveled to Evansville and we played in New Albany a lot.

“That helped a lot playing against other really tough competitors.”

Seymour teammate Isaiah Thomas was a member of that team.

Christensen said he also adjusted his mindset.

“I’m a guard, and I’m acting like more of a shooter now,” he said. “I just look to get an open shot. I like shooting from anywhere. I haven’t had a preference. I do like the corner, but I like any open shot.”

The senior said he would rather play against a zone because he thinks it is easier to get an open shot.

“If I don’t have an open shot, I just usually kick it back out and then try to create something for myself or for my teammates,” he said.

He said he enjoys the up-tempo game.

“Off of misses, we definitely get out and run,” Christensen said. “We’ve been doing that a lot more lately. We’re better in transition than we give ourselves credit, especially when our bigs run the floor in lanes and our guards spread the floor.”

The Owls are on a three-game winning streak, and he said the wins have boosted his confidence and the team’s mental toughness.

“A lot of the maturity and team chemistry have been building up, just playing together,” Christensen said. “We’ve been practicing really hard and have really good focus at practice. We need to have hard-nosed defense. Every game will come down to the fourth quarter as long as we keep our composure and realize that we’ve been through this situation before and in practice. We just need to stay solid on defense and rebound, and the shots will come.”

On defense, he said he prefers playing man to man.

“We have really big confidence in our man defense,” Christensen said. “I think we can guard anybody. We pride ourselves on defense. We can play either defense, but we prefer man.”

Christensen said he takes practice seriously.

“You can’t succeed without practice,” he said. “The most important thing in sports is practice and preparation, so you just have to trust yourself with your preparation and go through the process in your head, and visualize yourself doing (your plays) before the time comes.”

On the hardwood

Family: Parents, Danny and Monique Christensen; siblings, Matt, Ammon

Sports: basketball 4 years, track 1 year

Home games: “I love them. There is nothing like them. The crowds are definitely getting better.”

Favorite away gym: Columbus East

Organizations: Latin Club

Attending SHS: “I’ve enjoyed it here. I’ve enjoyed the relationships with my friends and all the good memories with them. I’ve liked getting a good education. It’s just been a good all-round, great experience.”

Plans after high school: Attend college

Favorite food: Spaghetti

Favorite musician: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Favorite movie: “Taken”

Favorite athlete: Klay Thompson

Favorite quote: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”