It was a dream season for the Faith Bible girls basketball team: a 25-1 regular season record, a league championship and the league Player of the Year for junior post Sarah Fajer. But like all dreams, they eventually come to an end. And while head coach Eddie Kirkpatrick knew that, he had really hoped it not be as soon as it was.
In February, the Falcons lost their state playoff game 42-29 to Weston McEwen on their home court at Forest Hills Lutheran School in Cornelius, and in the process ended their championship run before it really had a chance to get started.
"It was definitely a really tough one," said Kirkpatrick. "I'm not going to lie, it hurts."
The Falcons led early, lost that lead at the half, then failed to get anything going in the second-half before falling to the reality of a defeat they simply didn't see coming.
"I think we just got down by a few points and were not used to that," a dejected Fitzpatrick said. "I think it rattled us."
Weston took a 21-15 lead to the locker room, and it seemed like more based on Faith's body language walking off the court.
"The game got away from us right before halftime, and we got a little one dimensional," said Kirkpatrick. "I think we were a little shell-shocked by what was happening."
With the lead, Weston made it tough for Faith to play their game. The Falcons like to feed the 6-foot Fajer sisters and do most of their damage inside. The Tigerscots packed the paint and dared Faith to shoot from the perimeter, something they appeared reluctant and somewhat ill-equipped to do.
"We played their speed, not our speed," Kirkpatrick said.
He then spoke to Sarah Fajer's injury. Not as an excuse, but as a reason for things simply being "off."
"It definitely hurt not having Sarah a hundred percent," he said. "She was a little off with her shot, but she still played a great game being just 50 or 60 percent."
Faith never got closer than nine in the final quarter, as shot after shot failed to hit its mark as the clock painfully ticked down.
"I think we had what it took to beat them, I just don't think we played our game," Kirkpatrick said. "They shot a lot better than I was expecting, but it's still upon us to do better."