It took four games, but the Lady Pilots finally earned their 20th win of the season… and it couldn't have come at a better time as Bethel travelled to Winona Lake and defeated the Grace Lancers 73-68 at the Orthopaedic Capital Center Tuesday night.
Bethel jumped out to a quick lead, canning their first four shots from behind the arc – a trend that would continue throughout the contest. The Lady Pilots scorched the nets in the first half, hitting on 63% from the floor, including 8 of 9 from three point land and held a halftime lead of 33-24. BC's Laura Johnson led the way in the opening stanza, hitting all four of her trifecta tries and scoring 12 points. It probably should have been a bigger margin, but 17 turnovers were the Lady Pilots doom.
The second half lead swelled to as many as 18 points as the Lady Pilots found their collective stroke again from well beyond the arc. Johnson made just one more, but Kristen Hicks and Katie Stuppy joined the party, including a Hicks back-breaking rain maker from 30 feet out.
Grace would not go silently into the night though, making a late run and eventually cutting the lead to four points before running out of time in the comeback bid.
Johnson led the way with 22 points, while Hicks added 16 and Ashlee Ort 14 points and six rebounds. For the game, the Lady Pilots knocked in 12 of 18 three-pointers 23 of 31 from the charity stripe, including 12 consecutive late in the half.
"It was a great effort tonight on both ends of the court," said BC Coach Jody Martinez. "The confidence level on shooting the ball to the defensive effort was fun to watch. This team has come a long way since September. This team has believed in themselves from day one. The tradition of winning 20 or more games in a season is a tribute to them and all the players before them. Finishing second in the MCC is a tough task and these girls did it. Now, we need to refocus and prepare for a tough road game at Marian on Saturday."
The win did indeed give Coach Jody Martinez and his Lady Pilots 20 wins for the 14th consecutive season. BC improves to 20-8 overall and 12-5 in the Mid Central Conference and also clinches the #2 seed for the upcoming MCC post season tournament.