JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Faith Academy girls basketball coach Jerry English is a numbers fan. So it’s no surprise that after his Lady Flames beat Bay Area Christian 64-42 on Feb. 28 to return to the state tournament, English was able to rattle off a few digits.
Such as this is the seventh Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools state tournament for the Lady Flames (32-4, 12-0) since he took over 10 years ago.
Faith, the No. 2 team in the small school poll of the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, will face Houston Lutheran North (34-1), the No. 1 team in the same poll, at 6 p.m. March 6 at Mansfield Summit High School, 1071 Turner Warnell Road in Arlington.
It’s English’s 18th state tournament overall, with six at Sweeny and five at Dripping Springs before coming to Faith Academy.
“It’s really, really special,” he said with a smile. “I’m as proud of this team for as far as they’ve come from the start. We started putting together the pieces. We fit better.”
But winning another regional title wasn’t easy, English said, pointing to the semifinal game against The Woodlands Christian. Faith won 60-12 but led 14-4 after the first period and 27-8 at the half. English’s concern was that this athletes were not playing to their standard.
“We just flat stunk the first half of our first game,” he said.
At halftime, English said he was honest with his assessment of his players’ performances. So they fixed it in the second half.
“We played with much more enthusiasm and ran the ball,” he said.
Later, English said he had conversations with sophomore guard Jayla Reeves and freshman post Sedona Prince.
“They were so nervous, they couldn’t grip the ball,” he said.
The Lady Flames did not encounter such issues against Bay Area Christian.
“We came out ready to play, we could tell,” English said. “The other coaches said, ‘You don’t need to be quite as nervous today. They’re shooting the ball like they normally do.’”
English said he was impressed with the Lady Broncos, particularly senior forward Chelsea Green, who also lines up at shooting guard. BAC outscored Faith 31-29 in the second half.
Green, who stands around 5 feet 10½ inches, and Prince had a classic battle in the lane. If Prince didn’t get the rebound, Green would have.
“Green played extremely big and quick as a cat,” English said. “Our big talk going into that game was rebounding.”
Faith had 30 rebounds in the first half to build a 35-11 advantage that paced the Lady Flames to victory. They finished with 45 total rebounds.
Prince finished with 35 points, 17 rebounds, six blocks and three steals.
English said his players made great entry passes and were able to reverse the ball with quickness. That allowed shooters to take wide-open shots.
AGAINST THE WOODLANDS CHRISTIAN: Points – Jayla Reeves 14, Taylor Denton 8, Sierra Brinkley 5, Allison Metzger 4, Sarah Williams 7, Sedona Prince 9, Alisha Williams 4, Hannah Cozby 9; rebounds – Reeves 2, Denton 2, Metzger 5, S. Williams 2, Prince 19, A. Williams 5, Hanah Marks 1, Cozby 1; assists – Reeves 4, Denton 5, Brinkley 2, Metzger 1, S. Williams 3, Prince 1, Marks 1, Cozby 1; steals – Reeves 9, Denton 6, Brinkley 3, Metzger 4, S. Williams 2, Prince 2, A. Williams 1, Cozby 4; blocks – Prince 6, Cozby 1.
AGAINST BAY AREA CHRISTIAN: Points – Reeves 2, Denton 12, Brinkley 2, Prince 35, A. Williams 2, Cozby 11; rebounds – Reeves 5, Denton 3, Brinkley 6, S. Williams 1, Prince 17, A. Williams 2, Cozby 11; assists – Reeves 4, Denton 4, Brinkley 9, Metzger 1, Cozby 5; steals – Reeves 1, Denton 4, Brinkley 3, Prince 3, Cozby 2; blocks – Reeves 1, Prince 6.
RECORDS: Faith is 34-2 overall
UP NEXT: 6 p.m. March 6, Faith vs. Houston Lutheran North (34-1) at Mansfield Summit High School, 1071 Turner Warnell Road in Arlington.