The host Wildcats led 16-4 after the opening quarter and went on to post a 56-32 win over the visiting Cougars.
Josie Sparks scored a game-high 20 points to lead Whitko, which led 35-5 at halftime. Cagney Craig had 12 points for the Wildcats in their regular-season finale. Melanie Kelsey netted eight points and Kelly Reiff and Bailee Juillerat each had six for the winners.
LCA played the contest with heavy hearts after former coach Jay Lavender passed away on Wednesday afternoon. The 64-year old Lavender, a resident of Winona Lake and a local attorney, had coached the Cougars the past 10 years. Lavender, a former Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Kosciusko County, also taught at Grace College.
“LCA played with great heart in a game that would have made Jay Lavender proud to watch,” said first-year LCA coach Ty Propp, the man who replaced Lavender. “We committed this game to him in honor of his coaching time at LCA.”
Jess Gross, Emilee Catron and Alissa Gross each had eight points Thursday night to pace LCA. Frani Gerst scored four points for the Cougars.
LCA (4-16) hosts Granger Christian Saturday at 4 p.m. Whitko (7-13) plays the winner of the Bellmont-Heritage game next Friday (Feb. 8) in a semifinal contest of the Class 3-A Mississinewa Sectional at 7:30 p.m.