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HCA ends season with loss to Rivers Christian

Hope Christian Academy's girls basketball team bypassed the Christian Athletic League tournament in Mankato last weekend, calling quits to their season on the road in a contest against Rivers Christian Academy last Tuesday.

Rivers Christian defeated the Eagles 55-36, dropping Hope Christian to 0-16 and ending the Eagles' 2008 campaign.

"It was kind of back and forth and they pulled away a little bit," said Eagles coach Naomi Van Zee. "That was a really big game. It was too bad not to pull one off at the end, but it was a fun game and the girls had a good time. It was nice to play with a similar caliber team."

Rivers Christian accumulated a 28-18 lead at the half, and though the Eagles chomped at the deficit to make it a closer game, Rivers eventually outscored the Hope Christian 27-18 in the second half to take the victory.

Jenae Rankin led the Eagles with 10 points, while statistics from Rivers Christian were not available when the Bulletin went to press time.

Last Tuesday's season-ender wasn't a career-finisher for any of the Eagles' auxiliary, as the team toted a seniorless squad in 2008. Junior captain Sarah Van Zee, who had nine points against Rivers Christian, led the Eagles in scoring this season, finishing with 103 points (6.4 points per game) in 16 games. Sixth-grader Suzi Zimmer followed with 72 points in 14 games, while Jamie Brandt had 69 points in 15 games.

The experience gained by this year's team will be beneficial in 2009 -- especially since some of the girls never played basketball prior to this season, coach Van Zee said.

"They learned a lot hopefully," coach Van Zee said. "You don't think in this type of season the kids should be having fun, but they enjoyed playing and you've got to look at the positive things. It was obviously a tough season, record-wise. But I think that overall, with everything that happened, the girls feel pretty good."

March 4


Hope Christian 18 18 -- 36

Rivers Christian 28 27 -- 55

HOPE CHRISTIAN (36) -- Jenae Rankin 10, Suzi Zimmer 6, Jamie Brandt 8, Grace Krussow 3, Sarah Van Zee 9

RIVERS CHRISTIAN (55) -- Statistics not available