Players current and former, coaches and fans celebrate 100 straight district wins for the Faith Academy Lady Flames basketball team. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro
JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — Few Faith Academy of Marble Falls girls basketball players understood the moment better than freshman guard Paris Brinkley.
Brinkley started during the Lady Flames’ 49-32 win against Round Rock Christian on Dec. 17 that extended Faith’s district winning streak to 100 straight victories.
Sitting in the stands to watch the contest were older sisters, Bailey and Sierra Brinkley, who were part of Faith’s other milestone victories, including head coach Jerry English’s 1,000 career win and numerous district titles.
“It’s a lot of pressure on us,” a smiling Paris Brinkley said. “My sisters also put a lot of pressure on me. They said, ‘Don’t break our streak.’ We don’t want to be the team that breaks it.”
The Lady Flames (15-4 overall, 1-0 in Class 3A District 4 of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) took an 11-4 lead thanks to two consecutive Brinkley buckets to end the first quarter. That started an 8-0 run that propelled Faith to a 28-12 halftime lead. The game was never in doubt after that.
Brinkley finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
Bailey and Sierra Brinkley weren’t the only former Lady Flames sitting in the stands. Samantha Schwertz, Taylor Denton and Juliette Fisher were among those back to celebrate the accomplishment.
Fisher, who is a student at Huston-Tillotson University, said watching some of her former teammates play made her want to put on a uniform and join them.
“It makes me feel proud they want to keep up the legacy,” she said. “For them to be able to pull it off made me calm down.”
Fisher was a unique player who picked up the sport as a freshman. Back then, she didn’t know what offense and defense meant and didn’t know the fundamentals of the sport.
She still credits English for teaching her to play and holds the school, her teammates and coaches in the highest regard.
“(English) can be tough, but it’s all love,” she said with a smile. “He wants us to do the best we can.”
English has coached another long streak. When he was at Sweeny about three decades ago, he guided the Lady Bulldogs to 77 straight wins.
He said he was concerned his current Lady Flames would be too sure of themselves and step on the floor flat.
“I wanted our older girls to be the program builders, to come back and be proud of us,” he said.
No players were bigger builders than sisters Ashley, Kendra and Brooke Field. Ashley, who was the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ Small Private Schools Player of the Year in 2007, was a junior during the 2006-07 season, while younger sister Kendra was a freshman. Ashley was a member of Baylor University’s 2012 national championship team, while Kendra played for St. Edward’s University
The two led Faith to its first state tournament appearance. In all, the program has seven appearances in the Final Four.
But it took a different group, led by Fisher and Joanna Piatek, to finally break through with a state championship in 2014. Piatek is the younger sister of former standout Meredith Piatek, who was a teammate of Ashley and Kendra Field.
Until the 2014 state title, the best finish for the Lady Flames was earning the silver medal in the state championship game in 2011. The standout post that year was Brooke Field.
“It’s crazy to think (about 100 straight district wins),” she said. “I am extremely proud and think we should go for 100 more!”