WINONA LAKE – For Lakeland Christian Academy’s varsity boys basketball team, the journey to a sectional championship starts with a sizeable road block.

The Cougars, who went 10-13 overall in the regular season and 3-1 in the Hoosier Plains Conference, drew No. 1 Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian in the first round of Class 1A Sectional 52.

The game will tip off at approximately 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Fremont High School.

Blackhawk beat LCA 102-37 in sectional play a year ago as the Braves advanced to the semistate.

Blackhawk takes a record of 21-2 into postseason play and is averaging a winning margin of nearly 25 points per game.

Blackhawk has played fellow Sectional 52 opponents Bethany Christian, Lakewood Park Christian and Hamilton this season, and won those games by margins of 50, 65 and 45.

The Braves are 5-0 this season against 1A opponents, and only one of those games was decide by fewer than 45 points.

“Obviously, drawing Blackhawk in the first game is a disappointment, as we have been bounced from the sectional by them in each of the past three years,” said LCA coach Chris Hohm.

“They are a very talented team with a lot of great athletes. We have drawn them in our first game of the sectional in three of the last four years. The only game we got against someone else we won, so we were hoping to get a chance to play someone else before playing Blackhawk, but that didn’t happen. We will still go out and battle as best as we can.”

The sectional tips off Tuesday with one game, as Smith Academy plays the host Eagles.

On Wednesday, Lakewood Park will play Hamilton, followed by Blackhawk and LCA.

Bethany Christian drew a bye in the seven-team field and will play either Smith Academy or Fremont in Friday’s first semifinal.

The winner of Saturday’s championship game will advance to the Triton Regional and face the winner of the Morgan Township Sectional.

Blackhawk is the only team in Sectional 52 with a winning record.

With 10 wins, LCA has the second-highest total of victories this season among the seven teams.

No other team has more than seven wins.

LCA, 3-2 against Sectional 52 teams this season, won just one of its first seven games, and following a 52-29 loss in a tournament game to Trinity-at- Greenlawn the Cougars were 3-10.

Starting with a 48-33 win over Granger Christian, the Cougars have won seven of their last 10 games heading into the postseason.

“We have made tremendous growth this season. We started the year with just three guys with significant varsity experience, so there were several spots open for guys new to the varsity level,” said Hohm.

“We had some early struggles and dropped a couple games that I think we could win if we rematched some of those teams now. One of the better measures of how our season has gone has been our two games against Elkhart Christian. We lost to them by 15 in December, and then we were able to beat them by nine in January.

“We’ve turned a corner as a team as guys have figured out their roles and are more comfortable with the speed and physicality of the varsity level. Our leaders have stepped up down the stretch as well. It’s been fun to win a few more games down the stretch and have back-to-back seasons with double-digit wins for the first time since the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.”