photo - Mark Engesser - Colorado Springs Christian School defeated Manitou 38-32 in the "Great Eight" round of the girls' 3A state basketball tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Mark Engesser - Colorado Springs Christian School defeated Manitou 38-32 in the "Great Eight" round of the girls' 3A state basketball tournament Thursday, March 9, 2017. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

It took only three seasons for Mark Engesser to make the girls' basketball team at Colorado Springs Christian School into a state power, just like the two-time state champion boys' program that he also coaches.

Just to think that two seasons ago the Lions were 5-15, but reached the round of 16 in 2015-16 with a 17-7 mark.

The upward track continued this season with the Lions winning 19 of 21 regular-season games and a share of the Tri-Peaks League title.

"We saw that improvement, but I don't think anyone else expected it to happen as quickly as it did," said Engesser, The Gazette's girls' basketball small schools Coach of the Year after a 24-3 season that ended with a loss to league rival Lamar in the state championship game.

"We're happy and excited that it did. I wish we could have won one more, but we're pleased with how we've improved."

In terms of win-loss record, the Lions can't improve much more, but Engesser knows there is plenty of work ahead to get back to that point and come away victorious.

"We're still going to work hard and do the stuff we've done in the offseason and be ready to go," Engesser said. "I don't think we'll be ranked 19th going into next year like we were this season. We can't stop what has made us successful, and we know we have to put in the time and work really hard to keep getting better."

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