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AUSTIN — The Faith Academy boys basketball team lost to Austin Hill Country, 51-40, Tuesday in the district opener for both squads.

The Flames (5-9, 0-1) committed too many turnovers in the contest and couldn’t overcome those numbers, head coach John Berkman said.

"We had 27 turnovers, which of course is a problem keeping it to within 11 points," he said. "We shot ourselves in the foot."

Ironically, the turnovers came when Hill Country was in its half-court defense without a trap.  

"We ended up breaking the press," he said. "They put pressure on us defensively. We didn’t handle it well."

Hill Country junior forward Cole Bland, at 6 feet 3 inches, received the majority of the touches for his squad. He was able to drive to the basket, connect on long jumpers, post up or set up a teammate for a score, Berkman said. 

Now the Flames turn their attention to Bulverde Bracken, the opponent for the district home opener, 7:30 p.m. Friday at The Fire Pit on the Faith campus, three miles east of Marble Falls off RR 1431.

"They’re going to be tough physically," Berkman said. "They’re wanting to push us around."

The two were not in the same district last season but have enjoyed a good rivalry in football, he said. Faith has not beaten Bracken in basketball.

Despite the outcome of the first game, the Flames skipper said he is optimistic about the district race.

"I’m encouraged," he said. "This point last year we had a hard time scoring. We scored 40 points (Tuesday). Our program is going in the right direction. We’re working really hard, we’re putting it together, things are coming together nicely."