Summit Christian Academy was motivated by more than a shot at a first girls’ basketball district championship Feb. 24. The Eagles also felt they had something to prove.
SCA faced a Barstow team in the Class 3, District 14 final at St. Michael the Archangel that had throttled the Eagles by 30 points during the regular season.
“I think they had a little chip on their shoulder that they knew they weren’t 30 points better than we were,” SCA girls’ basketball coach Chad Friess said. “And I think our girls wanted to prove that. They wanted to go out swinging.”
The Eagles proved their point, but it wasn’t enough to bring home the title despite staying within striking distance most of the way. Barstow pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 39-23 victory, which ended SCA’s season at 17-10 overall.
The Knights (23-3) had no trouble putting away the Eagles in a 58-28 victory Jan. 26 during the season’s first meeting between the Crossroads Conference rivals.
This one would be no blowout as SCA scored the first four points, held Barstow to two points in the second quarter, and only trailed 20-15 at halftime.
“It was just a good battle the first half,” Friess said.
But the fact that SCA only managed five points in the second quarter as it struggled to make baskets foreshadowed more second-half struggles for the Eagles, who shot around 30 percent from the field all season.
Still, SCA remained within 27-19 entering the fourth quarter before a Barstow three-pointer helped the Knights open up a 12-point lead. The Knights then made 5 of 7 free throws down the stretch to keep the Eagles at bay.
“We just didn’t have the firepower,” Friess said. “It was almost like that three took the wind out of our sails. We were just battling and battling the rest of the way.”
Abby Nelson scored eight points and Sophie Schooley had five to lead SCA. Seeded third in the district, the Eagles, beat University Academy 45-34 in the quarterfinals and No. 2 seed Hogan Prep 48-46 in the semifinals to reach the title game. Their 17 victories marked the most in the program’s history.
“I’m beyond overjoyed and unbelievable humbled and proud of this group,” Friess said after his first season at SCA came to an end. “They’re phenomenal kids.”
The Eagles’ boys (14-10) saw their season end with a 60-54 loss against Southeast from the Kansas City Public Schools district in the quarterfinals.
St. Michael’s first boys’ basketball season ended with an 87-57 loss versus No. 1 seed Hogan Prep in the semifinals. The Guardians (11-16) had downed Barstow 61-59 in the quarterfinals.
Finally, St. Michael’s girls (7-19) lost to Barstow 40-19 in the semifinals after beating Southeast 58-48 in the quarterfinals.