JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Faith Academy of Marble Falls girls basketball head coach Jerry English has been emphasizing the importance of making layups and free throws to his players since their loss to Austin St. Stephens a few weeks ago.
And in an area-round playoff game against Abilene Christian High School on Feb. 23, the Lady Flames did just that.
Leading by 12 with five minutes remaining in the game, the Lady Flames scored three layups on their full-court offense and two more on their half-court sets to win the game 66-54.
“We’ve been working on that in practice, so if we missed it, we knew we were going to be in trouble,” Faith senior guard Bailey Brinkley said. “So, in a big game like this, we better make it.”
“Breaking the press is definitely what we do best,” Faith sophomore guard Taylor Denton said. “(Coach English) yelling at us definitely helps make us make the layups.”
The win wasn’t easy. It came down to Faith’s ability to guard Abilene Christian’s all-state seniors MaryKate Rotenberry, a point guard, and Callie Houston, a forward. The two Lady Panthers scored about two-thirds of their team’s points in the game.
The Lady Panthers shot several long-range jumpers, which forced long rebounds.
“I thought we out-hustled them a lot, and I thought our defense was awesome. I thought we helped good on screens,” Brinkley said. “I thought we did pretty good on our passes and just running down the floor and making them tired.”
Abilene Christian led 5-3 early in the first quarter. Then, Faith took a 10-5 lead and never trailed again, though the Lady Panthers cut the deficit to 12-11 in the first.
From there, the Lady Flames went on a 10-0 run at the end of first and the beginning of the second quarter.
Then, with 3 minutes 10 seconds remaining in the third, Abilene Christian went on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 37-30.
But the Lady Flames answered to push the lead back up to 45-31.
As a team, Faith was 20-of-26 from the foul line.
TOP PLAYER: Bailey Brinkley 29 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, 4 steals
ON OFFENSE: Points – Taylor Denton 14, Juliette Fisher 10, Joanna Piatek 9
RECORDS: Faith is 35-2.
UP NEXT: Faith vs. Muenster Sacred Heart at Dublin High School, 2233 Texas 6 at Dublin, 7 p.m. Feb. 26.