The Keuka College women's basketball team saw its season come to an end Saturday evening, as the Storm suffered a 71-48 setback against Lancaster Bible College in the semifinals of the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) postseason tournament.
Senior Taylor Szwec (Candor, NY/Candor) scored 16 points with seven rebounds and classmate Casey Chamberlain (Perry, NY/Perry) added 10 points with six rebounds, but the Storm (12-11) couldn't rally past the defending champion Chargers (21-5).
Senior Jessica Bandrowski (Center Moriches, NY/Center Moriches) added 9 points, 2 assists and 2 steals and classmate Danielle Gravel (Sidney, NY/Sidney) had 9 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds for Keuka.
Senior Brittany Sinnott (Mount Kisco, NY/Fox Lane) added 4 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals as Keuka's five seniors finished their career with a 75-23 record (.765 win percentage).
"It was Lancaster's day, that's for sure, but I'm proud of the group that we have," said Katie Marcella, in her second year leading the Storm.
"The only thing we can do now is look forward from here. We have a nice, young group and hopefully a nice group of freshmen coming in, so it's time to focus on next year. Not that we're forgetting about these seniors, because they are impossible to forget. They helped raise the bar of this program and I'm going to miss them. It's an emotional day."
The quintet won 60 of 69 in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC). The Storm won two NEAC postseason championships and earned the program's first back-to-back NCAA appearances during their tenure.
In the semifinal matchup, Lancaster Bible shot 45.3 percent from the floor (24 of 53) while the Chargers' aggressive defense limited the Green and Gold to 31.4 percent shooting (16 of 51).
The Chargers also enjoyed a 40-26 edge in rebounding and had 19 assists to Keuka's 10. The Storm lost despite forcing Lancaster Bible College into 16 turnovers.
Keuka, which earned the No. 2 seed out of the NEAC North division, started strong as Bandrowski buried a '3' and a layup for an early 5-0 lead.
Szwec drained the first of four '3s' for an 8-3 lead, and Chamberlain made consecutive layups to stake the Storm to a 12-6 lead five minutes in.
Gravel hit a '3' and after a Lancaster Bible turnover, Szwec swished another triple from the top of the key as the Storm held a 21-18 lead with 8:15 remaining in the opening half.
But it was all Chargers from there. Lancaster rattled off a 15-0 run and led 33-21 until Szwec knocked down another '3' to trim the deficit to 33-24 with 37 seconds left in the half.
Lancaster took a 36-24 lead into halftime, and the Green and Gold trailed by at least 10 points the rest of the game.
Aubrey Folger led the Chargers with 26 points and seven rebounds, Katy Stover added 14 points and six rebounds, Sarah Heilenman added 12 rebounds and 10 points and Brooklyn Wilson had 11 points for Lancaster, which has won all 17 games against NEAC foes this year.
The Chargers will face the winner of Gallaudet (15-10) and Wells College (17-6) in the NEAC championship at 3 p.m. Sunday. The winner earning the conference's automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III tournament.
The Storm, who have won six of the 10 NEAC postseason championships, are 19-4 all-time in the NEAC tournament, by far the most wins of any school in the conference.
Despite the tough ending to their season, Marcella said she was proud of her seniors who had given so much to the program. She had a specific message for each member of the senior class.
"I told our seniors that no matter what the outcome was or what the score was, you don't want to look back and know that you didn't give it your all for a full 40 minutes," Marcella said.
"They realized that no matter what, this was their last game playing for Keuka and they played as hard as they could. Our seniors did a lot, they have a great career record and it's impressive no matter how their careers ended. The hope is the incoming student-athletes can see what the tradition is, step up and keep that tradition alive."
Bandrowski broke Keuka's career steals record with 271 thefts and surpassed 1,000 career points in her senior season. She finishes her career ranking sixth all-time in points (1,144), fourth in assists (329), third in career '3s' (140) and sixth in made field goals (415).
Gravel broke the school mark for career '3s' with 184, and she ranks seventh in program history in career scoring with 1,142 points while Chamberlain ranks 12th in rebounding with 553.