ELKHART – The Lakeland Christian Academy girls basketball team found its shooting touch at just the right time on Saturday.
The Cougars put the ball in the bucket late in the game to seal a 32-21 win over Elkhart Christian Academy.
Eight different players scored in the contest for LCA, including six in the final quarter as the Cougars netted 16 points in the fourth stanza.
Hope Fancil and Brady Gross, a pair of juniors, each scored six points to pace the winners. The trio of Melissa Goss, the team’s lone senior, along with junior Jessica Slone and sophomore Anna Reimink each chipped in with five points apiece for the Cougars.
Fancil found her offense at the perfect time for the Cougars. The host Eagles pulled within 19-14 with 5:12 to play on a three-point play by Tori Skaggs. LCA answered with a 9-0 run to take command. Fancil scored three straight hoops in the pivotal stretch as she drained a jumper and then hit a pair of inside buckets.
“I thought that we definitely picked up our defensive intensity in the fourth quarter and that fed our offense,” said LCA coach Allison Kauffman. “We got some layups and a few easy shots and that boosted our confidence.
“It’s good for us to come here and get the win and it’s also good for our girls to see in that fourth quarter that they have the potential to put the ball in the basket. It’s all about confidence. It’s a mindset that our girls need to have that they are going to shoot to make the shot when they take it.”
“We lost our two leading scorers from last year so I knew that we would need to look to everyone to score for us this season. We are more well rounded in that regard and that will just help us in the long run.”
LCA, which snapped a three-game losing streak, led 9-2 after the opening period in the matchup of potential sectional foes. The Cougars were up 11-4 at halftime and 16-8 after the third period. ECA, which falls to 2-3 on the season, struggled with turnovers all game long versus the LCA pressure defense. The hosts finished with 32 turnovers in the contest.
“We have been able to keep other teams from scoring,” said Kauffman, whose team was allowing just 31 points-per-game entering play on Saturday. “We focus and work on the defensive end. That’s all about heart and hard work. We have some athletic and quick girls, like Anna (Reimink) and Melissa (Goss) who can pressure the ball.”
LCA, like ECA, has just one senior on its roster this season. The Cougars, who finished 12-12 a year ago, are now 3-3.
“Overall, we are improving every game,” said Kauffman, who played at Grace College and is in her second season as the LCA head coach. “This team has the potential to do good things this season. I really am hoping to do better than last season.”
ECA, which finished 4-18 last year, lost 49-48 in overtime to the Cougars last season. The Eagles do not have a junior varsity team this season and have five freshmen listed on its roster of 10 players. Brent Miller, who previously was the girls basketball coach at Fairfield and also a former assistant coach at Northridge, took over the program in September.
Freshman Hannah Salmons and sophomore Abigail Fishel each scored two points and sophomore Maddie Paris one for LCA in the win.
Slone had seven rebounds and Gross five for the Cougars. Goss and Reimink each nabbed eight steals and Fancil added six.
Sophomores Lexi Troyer and Tori Skaggs and freshmen Abbey McKibbin and Shealey Skaggs each had four points to lead ECA.
LCA plays at Caston and ECA travels to LaVille on Tuesday night.