WINONA LAKE – For a team that couldn’t find a second scorer, a 15-0 deficit right out of the gate was a backbreaker Saturday night. Lakeland Christian Academy found themselves trailing without a point in the second quarter and never found the gusto to make it up in a 39-18 loss to visiting Hamilton in girls hoops.
Hamilton ran its offense with confidence in the first quarter and played defense with a smile as it filled LCA’s passing lanes and converted on the other end all through the first period. Suffocating LCA with its press, Hamilton ran out to a 13-0 lead after the first quarter and held LCA without a point until the 6:31 mark of the second quarter when Hannah Delp stole a ball and worked for the layup.
By then, however, Hamilton had stolen all the thunder of what LCA had done the night before in a competitive loss at Jimtown, much to the dismay of head coach Brian Harshman.
“Every game we just have to bring it, not just when we feel like it,” Harshman said. “We need to change our attitude. We come off a game against Jimtown where we played amazing and come out tonight and tonight I think we just expected to come out and play well at home. The basketball part, at 15-0, just fell apart. The fundamentals just disappeared and the attitude went with it.”
Delp was really all the offense LCA could muster against Hamilton, scoring 14 of the team’s 18 points and was the only Cougar to score in the first half. For what Hamilton was able to do, LCA’s other scoring threat, Rachel Sand, found no rhythm against the Marines. Sand had just two points and three rebounds and wasn’t really a threat throughout.
“Their two-three zone was very effective and they just collapsed on (Sand),” Harshman said. “If we could have got the ball to the corners a little more could have helped Rachel out a little bit. Our ball movement, though, wasn’t very good and we threw a lot of bad passes right to them. But Rachel also needs to recognize when they are collapsing on her. And our guards need to recognize that, too.”
Emma Gaff led the Marines (3-3) with 14 points, doing a lot of her work straight to the basket. Katelyn Wilson added 11 points and Kenzie Smiyth hit for nine points.
LCA’s turn of fortune was a complete 180 from what it had done Friday evening in Elkhart County. Leading Jimtown 19-14 at the half, LCA was in line for its first major program win before the Jimmies rallied to win 42-33, doubling up LCA 28-14 in the second half. LCA only attempted two free throws in the second half while Delp and Sand both scored 10 points each.
LCA will host South Bend Trinity next Saturday before a pair of holiday tournaments sandwich the new year. The Cougars will play in the Bethany Christian Tourney Dec. 20 and host the LCA Classic Jan. 2.
“We’re going to have games like what we had tonight all year, because we’re still building something new,” Harshman said. “We know it’s going to be an up and down season. We hope it will smooth out down the line, and by January we can be more consistent and more competitive as a team.”