Going undefeated in league play was a major highlight this season for the St. Francis Borgia Regional basketball Lady Knights.
Borgia went 16-10 overall, 8-0 in the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division during the 2019-20 season.
“We were able to win the AAA Large Division title,” Borgia Head Coach Stacia Houlihan said.
Not only did Borgia win the league title, but it also placed four players onto the all-conference team.
Houlihan was named the coach of the year.
Junior Avery Lackey was selected as the player of the year and the offensive player of the year. The 6-2 junior post player also was named to the all-conference first team.
“Avery Lackey overcame an injury in the early part of the season to become a dominating force on both ends of the court,” Houlihan said.
Lackey averaged 13.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.1 blocked shots per game.
Lackey missed time in December, including the entire Sullivan Tournament.
Joining Lackey on the All-AAA Large first team was sophomore forward Kaitlyn Patke, who averaged 11.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.9 of a blocked shot per game.
“Kaitlyn Patke improved every day and really worked to become an all-around good player,” Houlihan said. “She will continue to get better as she gets more experience.”
Two seniors, guards Julia Struckhoff and Grace Turilli, were named to the AAA Large second team.
“Julia Struckhoff has been part of this program for four years,” Houlihan said. “She truly was an extension of a coach on the floor. She always played unselfishly and gave her best effort.”
Struckhoff rarely left the floor during games. She averaged six points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.4 steals per game. She led the team in three-point baskets with 31.
Turilli joined the team as a senior after being homeschooled. She averaged 7.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
“Grace Turilli made an immediate impact, transferring in as a senior,” Houlihan said. “She brought passion and grit to the team.”
Borgia’s other two seniors were Hannah Herbst and Caroline Klahn.
“Hannah Herbst and Caroline Klahn were both affected by major injuries, but showed dedication and love of the sport,” Houlihan said.
Injuries played a role this season as well. Junior Maddie Dowil started the first game, but suffered a major knee injury and didn’t get to play again.
Borgia’s other normal starter was junior guard Mya Hillermann, who averaged 4.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, one rebound and 1.1 steals per game.
As the season moved along, others started to gain more playing time. Sophomore Jenna Ulrich (3.3 points, 3.2 rebounds per game) was one of those. Junior Grace Rickman was a valuable rotational interior player. Sophomore Callyn Weber hit some clutch three-point baskets.
“We played our best basketball at the end of season, which is what every coach wants,” Houlihan said.
Borgia was seeded fourth in the Class 4 District 4 Tournament. The Lady Knights won their opener against Visitation Academy before losing to top-seeded Westminster Christian Academy. Borgia led late in that game before the host team went on a run to win the game.
Houlihan feels the squad has the ability to be strong again next season.
“We are a team on the rise,” Houlihan said. “We have a tremendous amount of excitement with the players returning and we cannot wait to start working this offseason to get ready for next year.”