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Lancers' Record-Setting Season Ends

Girls Basketball: Lutheran South girls basketball team lose state quarterfinal game to Dexter 81-63

Lutheran South Lady Lancer Abigail Howard (#10) dribbles down the court around the Dexter defense. photo by Jeni Fehr.

March 17, 2017

Before the 2016-17 Lutheran South High School girls basketball season began, Ben Ealick's team set two goals to win a district title and to win 20 games. They accomplished both.

On Saturday, March 11, the lady Lancers were in search of win number 21 and their first MSHSAA Class 4 State Quarterfinal victory in more than a decade.

Up against the Dexter Lady Bearcats (21-8), who had advanced to the Elite Eight five of the past six seasons, the Lancers kept pace in the first quarter. And, after the first eight minutes, were only down three, 19-16. But, the lady Bearcats jumped out on top in the second quarter and by halftime Lutheran South was down, 47-30.

The Lady Lancers continued to play Dexter evenly throughout the second half, with each team scoring more than 30 points in the final two quarters. But, the deficit was too much to overcome. And, when the final buzzer rang, Lutheran South was on the wrong end on of an 81-63 score. Their season was over. That is when reality set in and emotion poured out.

"These kids all genuinely liked each other," Ealick said. "I think they were all genuinely sad that the season was over.

"I don't think that they were as much upset by the loss, which obviously stings a little," Ealick said. "But, I think, the tears came from knowing that was the last time that group of kids was going to be together."

Their team chemistry extended beyond the basketball court. And, that friendship helped the 2016-17 lady Lancers (20-9) leap into the school's record books, for both individual and team achievements.

"You go back and look, with what they accomplished this year, they had a great season," Ealick said.

Their district title was the 14th in Lutheran South girls' basketball program history; they won a state tournament sectional game for just the sixth time. And, they sank nearly half of their shots the entire season, with a 48.7 field goal percentage a new school record, surpassing last year's mark of 42.7.

Senior Leketor Member-Meneh set an all-time record of points scored in a career (1,620) and Natalie Lawson found her way on the leader board, as well, with 834 points.

Member-Meneh reached the top 10 for rebounds in a season, for the third time. And, Abigail Howard jumped on the leader board for assists in a season, with 84, which is the most a lady Lancer has tallied since the 2007-08 season.

"You start to see the things that they did and they accomplished a whole lot," Ealick said. "These kids left their mark."

As for Ealick, this season was one that he will remember for years to come. They were, after all, his first 20-win team as a varsity coach.

"I'm going to look back very fondly," he said. "All of the personalities and the characters that made up the team; it was a really fun year."

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