Senior Jessica Slone (L) of LCA races for a loose ball during Saturday night's sectional final game against Lakewood Park Christian. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Senior Jessica Slone (L) of LCA races for a loose ball during Saturday night's sectional final game against Lakewood Park Christian. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
GOSHEN – The Lakeland Christian Academy Lady Cougars ended their most successful basketball season in program history on Saturday night.

LCA lost 41-38 to Lakewood Park Christian in the Class 1A Sectional 52 championship at Bethany Christian High School.

In only her third year leading the team, coach Allison Kauffman has seen improvements each year. A season before she took over the program, the team finished 7-17, and in her first season they were 12-12. The Lady Cougars ended the current campaign with a 16-9 record and captured the school’s longest postseason run in team history.

There was a lot of optimism regarding how far the team could go this season and Kauffman was sure the girls could live up to those expectations.

“Right from the start, I knew this team had potential to do this and get here,” she said.

After jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead, LCA saw its advantage diminish and end the quarter down 14-12 to Lakewood Park (18-5).

The Lady Cougars shot 25 percent in the opening stanza. Senior Hope Fancil scored seven points in the period and continued to be the team’s leading scorer.

The second quarter belonged to LCA. The Lady Cougars went on an 8-0 run to capture the lead at 20-14. The Lady Panthers finally entered the scoring column in the quarter after sophomore Gracyn Fetters drained a three. LCA countered with a basket from sophomore Tori Calizo.

The Lady Cougars looked to go into halftime with a 22-17 lead, but Lakewood Park was able to earn a layup just before time expired and sent the teams into the locker room with LCA up 22-19.

Lakewood Park began the second half on a 4-0 run to take back the lead and adjusted its defense, only allowing six points in the period.

Beginning the fourth quarter with the Lady Panthers up 33-28, LCA was able to come within one point on two occasions, but couldn’t get over the hump and take the lead.

With 32 seconds remaining in the game, the Lady Cougars were down by one and knew they needed the ball back. After a couple fouls by LCA to put Lakewood Park at the free throw line, LCA was down 41-38.

The Lady Cougars had three good looks at tying the game in the final seconds. Two three-point attempts from Calizo and one from Fancil bounced off the rim and were unable to send the game into overtime.

“We executed down the road and executed some plays that gave us three shots at the end to tie it,” Kauffman said. “(They) did a great job of giving us the best chance to win.”

LCA’s three seniors combined to score 21 of the team’s 38 points. Fancil led the team with 14 points, Jessica Slone had five and Brady Gross tallied two.

“The (seniors) helped us get here,” said Kauffman. “I’m super thankful for them and all the time and effort they’ve put into our program.”

Lakewood Park will play at the Caston Regional on Saturday. The Lady Panthers will take on North White at 10 a.m.

The winner will play the winner of Oregon-Davis and Marquette Catholic in Saturday’s regional final.



LAKEWOOD PARK 41

LAKELAND CHRISTIAN 38

LCA    12    10    6    10    –    38

LP    14    5    14    8    –    41

Lakeland Christian – Hope Fancil 4 5-6 14, Tori Calizo 3 0-2 12, Jessica Slone 2 1-1 5, Anna Reimink 2 0-0 5, Brady Gross 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 6-9 38.

Lakewood Park – Gracyn Fetters 3 2-2 10, Hadyn Faur 3 2-2 10, Chloe Jolloff 4 1-3 9, Rebekah Priskorn 4 0-3 8, Cassidy Randol 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 5-10 41.

Three-pointers – Lakeland Christian 4 (Calizo 2, Fancil 1, Reimink 1), Lakewood Park 4 (Fetters 2, Faur 2); Rebounds – Lakeland Christian 33 (Slone 11); Turnovers – Lakeland Christian 10; Steals – Lakeland Christian 7 (Calizo 3); Records – Lakeland Christian 19-9, Lakewood Park 18-5.