It wasn’t the ultimate result the Life Christian Academy boys basketball team traveled from Tacoma to Spokane to accomplish.
But the Eagles, with eight seniors on their roster, wanted to make sure their season run ended on a positive note.
After being bounced in the semifinals by Liberty of Spangle, Life Christian rebounded with a 64-51 win over St. George’s on Saturday at the Spokane Arena.
The Eagles finished third in the 2B boys state tournament with the win.
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"The loss yesterday, I mean, it stung," senior post CJ Kovacs said. "We didn’t get what we came for, but third place, we’ll live with it."
The Dragons (19-10), without starting point guard Erik Farias (23.5 points per game) started out with the momentum and led 15-11 after the first quarter. But the Eagles (26-2) would wake up soon enough in the second quarter, and that’s when two of LCA’s senior leaders, Luke Lovelady and Kovacs, took over.
Lovelady scored eight points, six of which came of steals and transition dunks, and Kovacs registered seven points in the second quarter, providing LCA a 32-31 halftime lead.
The slow start stemmed from a lack of urgency, according to head coach Mark Lovelady.
"I think maybe in our mind our kids thought Ok, this was going to be an easier game, and they found out St. George’s didn’t want to lose," he said. "And once they found that out, we started to play our game of basketball."
Lovelady led LCA with 17 points (8 of 13 shooting), three blocks and five steals. Kovacs chipped in 15 points and 10 rebounds and sophomore guard Noah Robinson added 12 points and 10 boards.
Mitchell Ward led the Dragons with 15 points.
Restocking the cupboard will be a process for coach Lovelady, as the Eagles are losing eight seniors and the bulk of their scoring.
But the legacy of the group will live on. LCA’s third-place finish this season is the best in program history.
The Eagles, however, don’t expect third place to become the norm.
"We have a good team coming back here next year, and they’ll be right back here, too," Kovacs said. "I hope this is just the start of the legacy."