WINONA LAKE – The first 30 seconds of Lakeland Christian Academy’s girls basketball game with visiting Churubusco wasn’t very good, with a turnover and a layup for the Lady Eagles.

But the Lady Cougars quickly regrouped, held a 15-8 lead after the first quarter and pulled away for a 47-34 non-conference win Tuesday night.

It’s LCA’s plan to create offense from defense and score in transition, and it worked well for them Tuesday. LCA forced five Lady Eagle turnovers, and scored 10 points off those miscues.

“We just want to start with intensity. I want my girls to start fired up, ready to go and getting that heart out on the court,” LCA coach Allison Kauffman said. “Defense is the way that we fuel our offense. If we get going, get a few steals, we get the momentum. That’s our goal each time we start the game.”

Churubusco played a step or two behind most of the game, until a foul call disqualified Callie Lemper and a brief argument led to a bench warning in the fourth quarter.  The Lady Eagles forced six LCA turnovers in the last four minutes.

“I tell my girls all the time, the famous John Wooden statement of ‘be quick, but don’t hurry.’ We are very fast-paced, but at the end of the game when we’re up we just need to control the ball,” Kauffman said. “My goal was that last minute to have no turnovers. That didn’t quite happen. That’s something that we’re learning, we need to grow with yet, to keep composed when the other team is rushing.

“I think part of it was Churubusco was on the frantic end of things, and I think we started playing at their pace. We’ve just got to keep our composure at those times and take care of the ball.”

Last season Hope Fancil led the Lady Cougars in scoring, averaging 19 points a game. Tuesday night, the Cougars got balanced scoring, with Fancil and Tori Calizo each getting 13 points, Jess Slone adding eight points and Anna Reimink seven.

But the standout stat line was rebounding, with LCA enjoying a 49-27 margin. Calizo had 10 boards, with Brady Gross and Reimink pulling down eight rebounds  each and Slone seven.

“One of our team goals this year is to outrebound every opponent. We have length, especially from our guards, so our focus this year is offense and defense, we’ve got to crash those boards and not give up easy second-chance points,” said Kauffman. “Churubusco did a great job of crashing the offensive rebounds, but our focus, especially with our length from our guards and our posts, is to crash the boards and be physical on the inside.”

For the third straight year the Lady Cougars are 2-0 under the direction of Kauffman. The coach isn’t at all surprised at the start of her team.

“I see the potential of the girls. It’s just whether they believe in themselves is the next step, getting them to believe,” said Kauffman. “We have multiple scoring threats. We have the intensity. We have great senior leaders that are pouring into the girls and getting the team fired up.

“Our culture is much different than three years ago when I started. Definitely, the start of the season I’ve been happy with, but it’s not a surprise. I’ve seen it in practice.”

Next up for LCA is its first road game Thursday night at Lakewood Park in Auburn. The Lady Panthers, a potential sectional opponent, are 2-1 and beat Churubusco 47-28 Nov. 9.



C    8    7    7    12    –    34

LCA    15    11    9    12    –    47

Churubusco – Brein Gross 2-11 2-2 7, Myah Bear 0-7 3-4 3, Mariah Hosted 3-5 0-0 6, Isabelle Hille 0-5 0-0 0, Brooke Nondorf 1-1 0-0 2, Delaney Peters 0-1 0-2 0, Makenzi Tonkel 3-7 0-0 6, Alayna Fulkerson 1-7 0-2 2, Callie Lemper 1-5 2-2 5, Molly Geiger 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 12-53 7-12 34.

LCA – Tori Calizo 5-15 3-6 13, Jess Slone 4-10 0-0 8, Anna Reimink 2-2 3-5 7, Maddie Paris 1-1 0-0 2, Brady Gross 2-6 0-2 4, Hope Fancil 4-10 5-7 13. Totals 18-45 11-20 47.

Three-pointers – Churubusco 2 (Brein Gross, Lemper), LCA 0; Rebounds – Churubusco 29 (Bear 9), LCA 49 (Calizo 10);  Turnovers – Churubusco 13, LCA 19; Fouls – Churubusco 17, LCA 13; Fouled out – Lemper; Records – Churubusco 0-3, LCA 2-0.

JV – Churubusco 41, LCA 10

LCA – Lauren Starrett 4, Avery Hobbs 3, Winnie Kyandaluba 2, Jordan Gross 1.