The Bethlehem Christian Academy girls’ basketball team nearly pulled off a surprising upset in the first round of the GISA Class AAA playoffs on Tuesday, Feb. 18, but couldn’t hold onto a late lead at top-ranked Deerfield-Windsor in Albany.
The Lady Knights led by as many as seven at one point and were up 45-43 with less than two minutes to play, only to see the Region 3 champions score the final seven points and win 50-45, spoiling an outstanding 29-point effort from BCA guard Jadyn Goddard.
“We played very well,” BCA coach Lashon Steele said. “We had some video of them to scout and felt pretty good about our chances going in. We just lost our composure a little bit late and let them back in the game.”
According to reporting from The Albany Herald, BCA (10-15) led 40-35 after three quarters before the Deerfield-Windsor Knights scored the first six points of the final period to grab the lead.
Still, BCA fought its way back on top and led 45-43 before Jamia Lofton’s 3-pointer from the top of the key gave Deerfield-Windsor the lead for good. Deerfield extended its advantage to 48-45 on a pair of free throws by Lofton with 7.4 seconds remaining — after an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and Steele called timeout to try to set up a play designed to get the game-tying shot to send it to overtime. But Emilee Foy came up with a steal and raced down the court for a layup as time expired to close the game out.
BCA, the No. 4 seed from Region 3 entered the game still hobbled from a season-ending ACL injury to senior guard Rebekah Doolittle late in the regular season, but the sophomore Goddard picked up the slack with a career night on the offensive end.
“Rebekah’s a big piece of what we do defensively and offensively, and losing her was a big blow to the team,” Steele said. “I knew when that happened, we had a long road ahead, but we had several girls step up in many ways.
“Jadyn was great (against Deerfield). They couldn’t stop her and at that point, when I knew they couldn’t guard her, I told the team to follow her lead. She laid it all out on the floor. They all did.”
Along with Doolittle, BCA is saying goodbye to five seniors. Among those are Katherine Gano, who Steele said became a more vocal leader after Doolittle’s injury, and Taylor Anne Buckner, who came out for varsity basketball for the first time during the summer and progressed to the point where she started the playoff game.
Goddard and junior Brooke Peevy will be among the key returners next season as Steele looks for the program to continue to grow and improve across all areas.
“Every night this year, we went out and got better, Steele said. “We got better at breaking the press. We got better at not turning the ball over. We got better at passing. There was always some aspect of the game where we got better.
“Hopefully we can get in the hallways and get some more girls who haven’t played in a few years to come back. We’re going to spend the summer getting back to the basics and hope to see some improvement by the time the new season starts.”