The matchup between Life Christian and Chief Leschi looked like a midseason playoff game on paper. Both rosters sized up well, and were built on speed and the ability to fill up the baskets. This was the game circled on our calendar before the season had even started.
The timing seemed ripe for the Warriors. Fresh on the heels of their own 10-game winning streak, the state qualifiers from last season hosted Life Christian on Saturday, Jan. 6, in front of a packed house at Chief Leschi High School.
Early on, Life Christian looked like the defending league champions. Despite having some new talent suited up, Life Christian head coach Mark Lovelady has been able to find the right combination for the Eagles. They looked loose and ready, while the Warriors came out looking tight.
By the end of the first quarter, Life Christian led 17-12 and appeared to have some momentum building. The Eagles would stretch their lead to 22-12 early in the second quarter before Chief Leschi sophomore Donnelle Irvin exploded for 11 consecutive points, to even the score at 23-23 midway through the period.
Chief Leschi was buoyed by the sophomore’s energy and the remainder of the second period was a dead heat between the teams, with Life Christian taking a slight 33-29 lead into the locker rooms.
A frigid third quarter spelled doom for the Warriors, as the Eagles outscored them 23-9 in the period. In the end, Chief Leschi (10-4) couldn’t muster the momentum they needed to get back into the game and fell 62-45
The Warriors (10-4) were unable to shake off the emotional loss and were upset 77-76 on the road against North Beach Tuesday, Jan. 9. The team still looks like the favorite to secure second place in the league standings and should to be a dangerous team come district tournament time, if they can get back to their winning ways.
The Warriors will host Northwest Christian on Thursday, Jan. 18, and South Bend on Saturday, Jan. 20. Both games begin at 7 p.m.