"Not to impress, but to inspire." This was the underlying focus of the 2019-20 Lady Eagles basketball program. Regardless of wins, losses, injuries, or setting stat records, this team wanted to play the game and respond to life situations in a way that would inspire fellow teammates and fans alike. What inspires? Playing hard! Sacrifice! Refusal to quit! Sticking together no matter what the challenge! Discipline! These were the characteristics of this team from day one to the final buzzer of the last game. The team drew its inspiration from Romans 8:31-32 which states, "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" God being for us as evidenced by Him not sparing His own Son, Jesus Christ, inspired this team to play the game of basketball to the best of their ability as a way of praising Him for who He is and all He has done for them.
Leading by word and example, the three upperclassmen captains, Michaela Crider, Alicia Smith, and Lyndi Shepard, helped keep the team focused on improving their skills in every practice and growing spiritually throughout the season. First-year coaches, Monty and Linda Kaufman, transitioned into their positions at FBBC and quickly realized what this team would be characterized by from beginning to end: a love for the game of basketball, a love for each other, and a love for God. This testimony showed itself even to their opponents throughout the season as the Lady Eagles were selected to receive the MCCC Sportsmanship Award at season's end.
In any season, it's nice to pull out a few more wins, but the 6-18 overall record and 1-7 conference record definitely had some highlights. The team fell short in some close games at the beginning of the season but secured their first win on December 13 over Holy Family (83-77). Freshman Rachel Kleczka (21 PTS, 15 REB), Junior Michaela Crider (19 PTS, 15 REB), and Junior Alicia Smith (17 PTS, 10 REB) finished the game with double-doubles to lead the team in victory.
Their only conference victory came versus Central Christian College of the Bible (83-80) in which four players scored in double figures. Rachel Kleczka notched another double-double (11 PTS, 13 REB), and Freshman Kenna Laib came within one point and two steals of a triple-double (9 PTS, 14 REB, 8 STL).
In the very next game versus Union College, Rachel Kleczka set the single-game rebounding record for FBBC with 31 rebounds (17 OREB, 14 DREB)! By the time the last game was played in February, Rachel would also set the single-season rebounding record for FBBC as she pulled down 353 total boards.
Heading into the MCCC tournament, the Lady Eagles felt they were on the verge of a deep run, but fell short in the first game to Barclay College by 11 points. The next day, however, was a hard-fought win versus Manhattan Christian College (69-62), whom the team had lost to one week earlier. Four players scored in double figures, with Rachel Kleczka (17 PTS, 16 REB) and Kenna Laib (19 PTS, 16 REB) each getting solid double-doubles. Notable conference tournament performances were shown by Junior Lyndi Shepard, averaging 19.7 points and 4 rebounds, Kenna Laib, averaging 13.8 points and 8 rebounds, and Rachel Kleczka, averaging 13 points and 17 rebounds.
"It was an honor to coach this team as our first team at FBBC. At every practice and in every game these girls were an inspiration to us with their commitment to the acrostic for TEAM that we said together so many times: T=Together; E=Energy; A=Aggressive; M=Muscle (that rhymes with Hustle)!"
–Coaches Monty & Linda Kaufman