JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — The Faith Academy of Marble Falls girls basketball team captured its 11th home victory of the season Feb. 14.
But this one was more meaningful since it was a playoff win for the Lady Flames (33-4 overall, 9-0 in District 4-4A of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools). They crushed Houston Cypress Christian 68-41 on their way to a regional final. Faith extended its winning streak to 19 straight.
The Lady Flames will face district foe Texas School for the Deaf at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at San Marcos Academy, 2801 RR 12 in San Marcos.
“We have a very, very good offensive team, one of the better ones we’ve had,” Faith head coach Jerry English said. “We do a lot of things well, if they let us run.”
The Lady Flames used a 14-0 run to build a 26-9 lead that spanned the final two minutes of the first quarter and the first two minutes of the second.
Though they would lead by as much as 16 points, the Lady Warriors ended the second period by scoring 11 points and trailed 34-20 at the half.
Cypress Christian kept it close by not allowing Faith to run its quick-break offense, which consists of about four passes without a Lady Flame taking a dribble. It forces Faith to outrun the opponent from one end of the floor to the other for an uncontested layup.
English’s message to his players during the intermission was simply to play better, which included making high-percentage shots such as putbacks off offensive rebounds and free throws and being stingier on defense.
English said his team has had “a lot of peaks and valleys where we’ve played extremely well and then coasted. Then, we’d play really well and coast. This isn’t the time of year to do that.”
His players responded by opening the third period with a 15-4 run for a 49-24 advantage. By the end of the quarter, Faith led 57-31 to cruise to victory.
The coach said he wasn’t surprised by Cypress Christian’s awareness of his team’s quick break, noting opponents are smarter and game-plan better for it, which was the case for two of the Lady Flames’ district foes: Austin Brentwood Christian and Texas School for the Deaf.
Faith beat TSD 39-32 on Jan. 26 and Brentwood Christian 40-37 on Feb. 10 to win the district crown for the 11th consecutive season. During that span, the Lady Flames are 120-0 in district play.
When opponents have held the Lady Flames to 40 or fewer points, they have had opportunities to pull the upset, English said.
“Brentwood was as tough of a game as I’ve ever had,” he said. “But to the players’ credit, when I talked to them about the streak, they said, ‘Coach, we’re not the least bit interested in the streak; we want to go to state (tournament).”
So it’s crucial his players understand they must value offensive possessions and commit hardly any mistakes.
“You can’t miss four- or five-foot shots and expect to beat good teams,” he said. “You’re not going to get that many chances.”