Freshman Carsyn Fearday hit a 3-pointer from the left side of the key that halted a last-minute charge by No. 5 Lincoln Land, broke a tie and lifted No. 6 Lake Land to a 63-60 victory in the NJCAA Region 24 women’s basketball tournament in Peoria on Saturday.
The Lakers (28-3) will face No. 9 Illinois Central, a 73-66 double-overtime winner over Parkland in the other semifinal, in Sunday’s title game at 2 p.m. The host Cougars are now 25-6. The regional champ earns a berth in the Division II national tournament in Port Huron, Michigan, that begins March 17.
Lake Land reached today’s final despite its lowest point total and worst shooting performance since an early February loss to Wabash Valley, and its lowest free-throw percentage of the season. The Lakers, though, used a 21-13 turnover advantage and solid defense.
Lake Land went on a 25-11 run in the second quarter to take a 39-28 halftime lead, then mostly traded baskets in a third quarter that kept it ahead 51-43 entering the final quarter.
Lincoln Land, which defeated Lake Land on a last-second 3-pointer earlier this season, went on a 7-0 run midway through the fourth quarter, relying on a 3-pointer, two free throws and a fast-break basket to tie the score at 58 with about 1 1/2 minutes remaining.
A few possessions later, Fearday set up on the top-left corner of the 3-point line and nailed the shot to put Lake Land ahead 61-58.
Lincoln Land’s Katryel Clark then took a pass inside for a short jumper to make it 61-60. A long pass to Arie Sims, who layed in a basket, made it 63-60, and the Lakers subsequently secured a rebound off an errant shot to secure the victory.
The Lakers defeated Illinois Central 77-56 in its previous meeting in mid-January.
LAKE LAND: Sims 4-8 2-2 11, Fearday 6-17 0-0 13, Weis 5-13 0-1 13, Schoonover 1-2 0-0 2, Newsom 4-6 1-3 9, Barry 1-6 0-0 2, Gant 2-10 0-0 6, Buescher 3-6 0-2 7, Breedlove 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-68 3-8 63. 3-pointers – Weis 3, Gant 2, Sims 1, Fearday 1, Buescher 1. Rebounds – Barry 7, Newson 6, Weis 4, Buescher 4. Steals – Newson 3.