Columbia, Mo. – After Camdenton's semifinal loss to the Lady Kewpies, Camdenton's coach Staci Caffey stressed one point.

The Lady Lakers are fighters.

"Our girls are fighters," Coach Caffey said. "Give us a chance at the end of the game, and we'll give it everything we have. Hickman probably hasn't been challenged like that too much, by the look of their scores. I felt like our girls battled, and that when we walked down into that locker room at the end of the game, we can honestly say we left it all out on the floor."

For the first three quarters of Thursday night's game, the Lady Lakers trailed Hickman by 10 points or more.

But the fourth quarter saw the Lady Lakers close that gap, at one point trailing by just two points.

Hickman jumped to an early 4-0 lead in the first quarter, working inside for their baskets by commanding the paint and rebounding, as they out-rebounded the Lady Lakers 15-6 in the first half.

"Sometimes, our girls just need an awakening," Coach Caffey said. "Sometimes, the game seems bigger than what we're playing, and they knew what they had to do. They were beating us on their third shot, not their first, and we could eliminate that. When we brought that to their attention, they really started playing."

Senior Abby Moulder put the Lady Lakers on the board with an assist by Bailey Rezabek, but Hickman continued to build their lead, holding the Lady Lakers to just nine points in the first quarter.

Hickman scored 19.

The Lady Lakers opened up the second quarter with Sophie Shore hitting Alyssa Ripley down the length of the court with a long pass for an easy layup to pull back within 8 points.

After Hickman added a 3 from Emily Miller and another basket from Mikayla Logan, Camdenton's Rezabek answered with a 3 to pull back within 10.

Two quick baskets from Rezabek and Whitney Snow made it an 8-point game towards the end of the half, and another drive to the basket by Snow in the final minute kept the Lady Lakers in the game.

Snow's basket proved to be the last Lady Laker basket of the half.

Hickman scored twice before the buzzer rang, leading 32-20 at the half.

The second half boiled down to a more simple game, or more easily put, a shooting contest between Bailey Rezabek and Hickman's Emily Miller.

Miller scored 17 points in the final half of the game, 22 total in the game, combining with teammate Nyjah White to score a combined 39 points in the game.

The combination of Rezabek and Snow's shooting, combined with Camdenton's defense in the second half, is what kept the team in the game. Rezabek had scored a total of five points in the first half. She finished with a game high of 26, sinking four 3's in the second half.

"The thing we talked about at halftime was playing our game and laying it on the line," Coach Caffey said. "What do you have to lose? I felt that we definitely came out in that second half and refused to lose, and that's kind of been the mentality of our last week's practices. We were uptight early, trying not to make errors, and then realized that's what was causing errors. We came out and changed the entire game-plan, and they stepped up and played well."

Though Hickman maintained their lead throughout the third quarter, as Camdenton trailed 48-38, the Lady Lakers had managed to keep the lead from escaping them and growing, almost as if waiting for the fourth quarter to unleash.

The Lady Lakers outscored their opponent 22-18 in the final quarter, and it all began with an 8-point run, started by a steal and layup from Sophie Shore.

Whitney Snow followed it up with a layup, hooking it in from underneath the backboard, which was followed by two free throws by Rezabek.

Rezabek scored on an inbound play less than a minute later, but the real credit goes to Alyssa Ripley, who dove for a loose ball as it went out of bounds, managing to sling it back in to the waiting hands of Rezabek for a quick two.

Just like that, the Lady Lakers trailed by two points, after trailing for the last three quarters.

Hickman began to rely heavily on the shooting of Miller, who answered Camdenton's 8-point run with a three for a 51-46 lead.

Snow answered with another crazy shot underneath that rolled right in for two.

Nyjah White continued to play hard inside the paint for Hickman, posting up for two and tacking on another point with a foul.

She improved on that play by adding another bucket seconds later, giving Hickman some breathing room with an 8-point lead.

Shore then used the old pick-and-roll for a quick two, followed by Snow's basket to make it a 4-point game once again.

Miller came up big once again, adding four quick points before Rezabek hit her fifth three of the game to pull Camdenton back in, trailing 61-55.

"I didn't want to lose the game, and wanted to keep us on track, so I just kept shooting," Rezabek said after the game. "That's what Coach always tells me to do. My main goal was just to make sure they went in. Anything to get us a little closer. You're tired, but you've got to want it. It takes a lot of heart."

For the remainder of the game, Hickman scored exclusively from the free-throw line, and with 34 seconds left, Camdenton trailed 65-60 after Snow drove in for another basket.

It proved to be the last basket for the Lady Lakers, while Hickman scored once more with a free throw by senior Kendahl Adams, as the Lady Kewpies' defense stood their ground for a 66-60 win.

Camdenton was led by Bailey Rezabek's 26 points and Snow's 24, while Hickman's Miller finished with 22 and White recorded 17 in the game.

The Lady Lakers finish the season 14-10, with four fewer wins than last season, but Rezabek is quick to remind everyone that the quality of teams they faced this season is much tougher.

"This has been an unbelievable season," Rezabek said. "We have lost more games than we did last year, but we also had a tougher schedule, and it made us ready for games like this. We would not have been ready if we had played our schedule from last year."

"I couldn't be more proud of this group," Coach Caffey said. "I've got three seniors who just play so hard. They're going to be successful because they have that discipline, and they've set a huge standard for the younger girls to continue. They're a group of fighters, and they're not going to back down, they're not going to quit."