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Sara Fajer scores 19 first-half points and the Falcons hold the Pirates scoreless for nearly two quarters in win.

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Faith Bible freshman Izzy Steerman finishes a reverse lay-in during the Falcons' Jan. 8 game versus Neah-Kah-Nie at Forest Hills Lutheran School.Four in a row.

That's how many games Faith Bible's No. 6-ranked girls basketball team has won since suffering their second defeat of the season to 3A Amity Dec. 28 as part of the Riverdale Holiday Tournament.

With wins over Vernonia, Knappa, and their Jan. 8 victory over Neah-Kah-Nie, the Falcons improved to 13-2 overall and 4-0 in Northwest League play, and sit atop the league standings. But at this point it's not so much about wins and losses, but more about getting healthy and improving as the season moves ever closer to the playoffs.

"We're getting better and we finally have a healthy team," said Faith Bible head coach Eddie Kirkpatrick. "The beginning of the season it was a lot of switching out one player for another, and another, so the first time all year we finally have a healthy team and are able to go out, be aggressive and do some of the things we want."

And what does that mean? Likely more of what took place in Faith's 39-15 win over the Pirates.

After a rough first quarter in which neither team could put the ball in the hoop, the home Falcons dominated Neah-Kah-Nie on both ends of the floor, outscoring the Pirates 29-3 in the second and third quarters and holding them scoreless until nearly seven minutes had expired in the third.

"Tonight we probably played one of our worst quarters of the year in that first quarter," said Kirkpatrick. "But I saw a fire in our girls in that second quarter and they played just as hard or harder as I've seen them play all year."

Faith used a swarming defense in the second quarter to create Pirate turnovers, and as a result generated a glut of easy baskets.

"We were jumping the passing lanes and being aggressive after every loose ball and running the floor," Kirkpatrick said. "You could tell the girls weren't happy with their first quarter performance and they wanted to prove the type of team they really are."

The Falcons were led by standout twin posts Sarah and Katie Fajer, who combined for 26 points and 14 rebounds in less than three quarters of work. Sarah Fajer did the bulk of the work in the first half, accounting for 19 of Faith's 28 first-half points. In addition, freshman point guard Izzy Steerman — who missed a handful of games due to injury — added six points, two rebounds and seven steals, something Kirkpatrick said should really help going forward.

"Izzy is back fully healthy and she's been a real help in recent games, scoring in double digits," said the coach. "She's also great to have at the top of the defense to get things going."

Faith is scheduled to play at City Christian Jan. 11 and host Columbia Christian Saturday, Jan. 13.

"City [and] Vernonia are probably our two biggest competitors in the league," Kirkpatrick said. "We'll look forward to the challenge."

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