Bodies were flying to and fro at the Wiekamp Center Saturday afternoon but in what feels like a broken record, another late game rally fell short as the Lady Pilots dropped their final regular season game to Grace College 64-58.
Bethel jumped out to an early 8-5 lead but the game quickly turned into a defensive slugfest with neither team mounting much of an offensive punch. Grace's 11-2 run late in the half gave them an eight point cushion, 25-17 with 3:50 left before the Lady Pilots used an 11-3 run of their own, ignited by an Aimee Swihart three-pointer, to knot things at 28 headed into the break.
Bethel came out swinging in the second half, scoring the first five points of the half and taking a 33-28 lead but the Lancers again answered quickly and regained the lead, a lead that they would never again relinquish.
The next nine minutes would see Bethel score just three points as Grace's lead grew to as many as ten, 46-36 with 8:50 left on the clock. BC would once again mount a fruitless comeback, fighting their way to within one point at the 3:40 mark but once again, two opportunities to tie or take the lead were wasted and Grace held on for the win. Bethel's brief second half lead was the 10th time this season that they have held the lead in the second half and came away losers. It was also the 9th game in which the Lady Pilots have lost by two possessions or less.
There was no Sonny Liston sighting at the Gates Gym on Saturday, but it had to feel like it for Bethel's Angelique Moore, who led BC with 20 points, despite a floor full of horizontal bodies about her all afternoon. Aimee Swihart was Bethel's only other player in double figures with 13 points. The Lady Pilots were dominated on the boards 51-28 and went the line just 16 times, compared to 36 for the Lancers.
"Today's game was symbolic of our entire season," said Bethel Coach Jody Martinez. "There are moments when we look like we can be a great team and then moments where we look like we've never played basketball before," added Martinez. "I want to thank Ashlin Sanders for her three years and dedication to this program."
Bethel finishes the regular season with an overall record of 12-18 and just 7-11 in the Crossroads League. The Lady Pilots will enter the Crossroads League Tournament as the No. 7 seed and will travel to No. 2 seed Huntington University Tuesday, February 25th for an opening round 7:00 PM tipoff.