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Faith Academy girls basketball faces another tough foe in quest for state title

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — “District 1 is the toughest district in the state.”

This declaration comes from Faith Academy girls basketball coach Jerry English.

And, he and his Lady Flames (36-2, District 4-2A champion) should know. In the 2013 postseason so far, they have faced two members of District 1-2A of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, beating third-place Abilene Christian 66-53 on Feb. 23 and runner-up Muenster Sacred Heart 38-32 on Feb. 26.

Now, they’ll meet district champion Sherman Texoma in the state semifinals at 4:30 p.m. March 1 at Mansfield Lake Ridge High School, 101 N. Day Miar Road in Mansfield.

Texoma should be one of the most balanced opponents the Lady Flames have faced all season, English said.

The Lady Eagles’ reserves are just as good as their starters, he said.

“They are very deep,” he said. “In a smaller school, you don’t have that type of selection.”

No Lady Eagles starter is shorter than 5 feet 6 inches, so English believes neither squad will have a height advantage.

And both squads enjoy playing at a fast pace, he added.

“They push the ball up hard,” he said. “They are not just sprinting fast. If they don’t get something easy, they’ll go to their half-court offense. They do a really good job in all aspects of the game.”

He wants the final score of their game to be in at least the 60s, he said, not like the Lady Flames’ 38-32 victory against Sacred Heart. The 38 points were Faith’s lowest point total in a contest this season.

English believes that won’t be enough to win at the state tournament.

And, while Faith senior guard Bailey Brinkley and sophomore point guard Taylor Denton continue to hit their season average scoring totals of 17 and 13 points per game, respectively, English said other players need to step up.

“We have been a very balanced offensive team,” he said. “It’s been one of our strengths.”

The Lady Eagles have a winning record against the Lady Flames, defeating them twice in the state tournament — once in the 2008 semifinals and the other in the 2011 championship.

Texoma won the Class 1A state championship in 2006 and was the state finalist in 2005. When the Lady Eagles moved up to Class 2A at the beginning of the 2006-07 season, they didn’t missed a step.

Like Faith, Texoma was at the state tournament in 2007, beating Victoria Faith Academy in the semifinals. The Lady Eagles lost to Sacred Heart in the championship.

Between Sacred Heart and Texoma, the two programs have won the past six state championships.

In the other semifinal game March 1, Boerne Geneva faces Victoria Faith Academy.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

FAITH SEASON FINISHES

These are the season finishes of the Faith Academy girls basketball program under head coach Jerry English.

2005-06: lost in the first round of the playoffs to Abilene Christian 68-35

2006-07: lost in state semifinals to eventual champion Muenster Sacred Heart 45-44

2007-08: lost in state semifinals to eventual champion Sherman Texoma 58-56 in overtime

2008-09: lost in state semifinals to Shiner St. Paul 46-29

2009-10: lost in area round to Victoria Faith 52-48 (only playoff loss at home)

2010-11: lost in state championship to Sherman Texoma 58-49

2011-12: lost in regional championship to San Antonio Lutheran 51-43

2012-13: Faith plays Sherman Texoma on March 1 in the 2A state tournament of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools. Texoma captured four straight Class 2A state titles in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011; was the state runner-up in 2007; and was a state semifinalist in 2012.