The Westminster Lady Lions were eliminated from the Georgia Association of Private and Parochial Schools state tournament last Friday, Feb. 19.

The No. 2 Lady Lions were beaten 61-37 by No. 1 Central Fellowship Christian Academy in the quarterfinals.

“Overall, I thought it was a really solid season,” Lady Lions head coach Chan Deep said. “We knew going into the season we were going to have to find other avenues to score because anytime you lose Division-I talent, you have to obviously replace those points, and that’s what we set out to do.”

Several Lady Lions stepped up this year to replace the points scored by Sallie Schutz, who is now playing basketball for Davidson College.

This year’s leading scorer, Lanie Bauer scored 15 points against Central Fellowship, and Avery Clark added 6 points in the losing effort.

The Lady Lions could beat most teams, but they struggled against the toughest teams on their schedule.

The Lady Lions lost to Athens Academy, Lake Oconee Academy and Lanier, which all won their respective regions.

Westminster Christian rolled over Cornerstone Prep in the first round of state playoffs.

After the Lady Lions’ 55-25 victory, they advanced to play Central Fellowship, which lost only once all year.

Competition was tough on the Lady Lions, and Deep also experienced the injury bug for the first time as a coach this year. Deep said the only game of the season he had a full unit available was the season opener.

“We got to play a whole season, which was praise the Lord for that, but the injuries really took us out of our rotations,” Deep said. “Injuries didn't allow us to do the things we had been doing, and when somebody comes back from injury, you have to try to get them game ready. It just takes a while, so it was a struggle. But I was proud of the girls because when one went down, we had the ‘next man up’ mentality and we just filled in and played on.”

The injuries added another dynamic for Deep, who was already having to take extra precautions with COVID-19 in play.

Deep relied on the leadership from his players to push through adversity, and Deep said the loss to Central Fellowship was emotional because that was the last game for six seniors.

Addi Kay Carter, Abby Clark, Lauren Costello, Sami Haymore, Skylar Kirkpatrick and Elise Piotrowski will all graduate from Westminster Christian in the spring.

“Those young ladies have sacrificed so much for our program,” Deep said. “That was the first group. They were freshmen when I started at Westminster and they’re like my babies to me. I wouldn't trade that group for the world. We lost together, and I appreciate them and their leadership and their willingness to be the example for others.”

Deep isn’t sure how big his next class of freshman athletes will be, but he has high hopes for next year’s junior class. Despite losing six players, the Lady Lions will return a large core group and Kara Grace Meyers will be the only senior on the Lady Lions’ roster next year.

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