PONETO – The drive, so far, has been worth it for Lakeland Christian Academy.
The Cougars made a dive into program history Friday night by advancing to its first sectional championship game as an IHSAA member. LCA ran past Northfield in the first game of the Class 1-A No. 53 Southern Wells Sectional. Waiting for the Cougars in the championship will be Southwood, which smothered host Southern Wells.
LAKELAND CHRISTIAN 59, NORTHFIELD 43
LCA didn’t need to shake off too much rust after not playing since Feb. 21. The Cougars scored 17 points in the first quarter on the Norse, and on the strength of three bombs from Landon Paris, opened up a 29-18 lead at the break.
LCA made good on its trips to the free throw line, hitting 27-37 in the game, including 15-20 in the fourth quarter. Cam Shepherd and Seth Martin combined to hit 20 free throws and teamed for 38 total points. Martin added 13 rebounds.
Northfield’s Clayton Tomlinson did it all, scoring 33 points. But the Norse (6-18) were held to just four field goals from the remainder of its roster, and no one else over four points.
The Cougars (6-18) won just the second tournament game in its eight-year IHSAA tournament history.
SOUTHWOOD 69, SOUTHERN WELLS 44
The Knights had no trouble putting away the hosts in the other semi-final. Southwood opened on a 17-2 run and never looked back. Jackson Simons led the way with 21 points as the Knights (10-13), a state finalist in 2018, are looking for its fourth sectional title in the past 11 years.