JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
ARLINGTON — The Faith Academy of Marble Falls girls basketball team’s season ended with a 66-52 loss to Houston Lutheran North in the Class 3A state semifinals of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools on March 6.
A single possession separated the two teams for much of the contest until the final five minutes.
Faith freshman post Sedona Prince fouled out, which changed the dynamic of the game, head coach Jerry English said. At the time Faith (32-5) led 50-48.
“That’s the frustration,” he said. “We’re a lot more than a one-person team. We didn’t get it done.”
HLN (38-1) relied heavily on the tandem of senior posts Shania Woods and Tiffany Valentine and sophomore forward Asia Woods, who combined to score the majority of the points and controlled the paint.
“I’ve never seen three that size work that well,” English said.
For three periods, the two squads battled back and forth with neither allowing the other to pull away.
Each team averaged more than 60 points a game, but both slowed the pace in the first half. HLN used the final 28 seconds of the first quarter to start a 17-5 run for a 24-15 lead with 6:26 left in the half.
Faith responded with an 11-4 run to end the second period. Senior guard Taylor Denton hit a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left to trim the deficit to 28-26 at the half.
The tug-of-war continued throughout the third period with neither team leading by more than four points. In the end, Denton scored two free throws, while Shania Woods hit a free throw to tie the game at 44 headed into the final period.
Sophomore guard Jayla Reeves found junior post Hannah Cozby for a bucket. She then assisted senior guard Sierra Brinkley on another for a 48-44 lead. Later, Reeves called her own number to regain the advantage at 50-48.
“I think we played well in spurts,” English said. “When we did catch up, I felt like we were ready to go on a spurt.”
Reeves finished with 14 points followed by Cozby with nine and Denton with seven.
English said that if he had been told in October that his team would have been three-and-a-half quarters away from playing for a state championship, he would have taken it.
“There’s only going to be one (team) happy when it’s all said and done,” he said. “I felt like our team was outstanding this year. They were good to each other. I’m very, very proud we got to the state tournament.”