SANFORD — Lee Christian’s first time playing in the state championship game in girls basketball didn’t go as the Lady Falcons planned or wished.
The Lady Falcon season as a whole though, with all its unique tests this basketball season, will be memorable for the Lady Falcon players, supporters and head coach Donna Taylor for quite awhile. That much was clear after the final whistle.
Taylor and the host Lady Falcons congratulated victorious Victory Christian Center for its 59-24 win to win the NCISAA 1A state championship. The home supporters still gave the Lady Falcons a standing ovation and a lot of thanks for the great season. Taylor recognized her team’s excellent efforts from November — and even going back multiple seasons now for much of the team which set a new program standard — to the state final game.
There have been the physical efforts in addition to what’s usual for a long, tough basketball season.
“It’s been a very challenging season,” said Taylor. “From having to wear masks on the court, running up and down the court in a mask is extremely difficult. You don’t know who hard it is to do that all season.”
The coach commended her team most of all for being a team, and becoming a better team, throughout everything going on in the last few months.
“It was a challenge to in no way be divided,” said Taylor. “I commend my young ladies for pushing past all of that.”
Charlotte’s Victory Christian rolled most of the way in the final. The Lady Kings’ full-court defense and quickness forced repeated Lady Falcon turnovers.
Victory Christian held the Lady Falcons scoreless for about five minutes to open the game and led 15-2 at the end of the first quarter.
The Lady Falcons slowed the pace and put a few good possessions together, for a 6-0 stretch for part of the second quarter, chipping the gap down to 17-8.
After the four-minute span of no Lady King points, the Lady King offense and defense ran off six points in less than a minute and it was the start of a 14-0 finish to the half to lead 31-8.
Guard Bethel Ekperigha led Victory Christian with 24 points.
Freshman forward Kelyce McSwain scored seven points and freshman guard Reily Johnson scored six points for Lee Christian (14-6).
The Lady Falcons went undefeated in winning the Mid-Carolina Conference season and tournament titles.
McSwain won the MCC Player of the Year. Jordan Langston, Emma Lodge and Taylor Woods also made the MCC All-Conference Team.