Faith Bible wins league, sets sights on state playoffs
A week removed from one of Faith Bible's more competitive games against City Christian, a game in which the Falcons trailed for the bulk of the contest and didn't take their first lead until inside of two minutes remaining, Faith faced that same opponent in the NWL tournament championship Feb. 17 at Forest Grove High School — and it wasn't close.
The Falcons dominated the City Christian Lions from the get-go, taking a 17-3 lead after one quarter and a 33-8 lead at the half. That domination continued through the second half en route to a 67-27 blowout win for Faith, clinching the leagues number-one seed and setting up a first-round playoff game against Toledo on Friday, Feb. 23, at Forest Hills Lutheran School.
"We were really confident heading into this game," said Faith Bible head coach Eddie Kirkpatrick. "City is a really tough team in our league, but having a week to prepare we knew we would be ready for this game."
Faith, normally a team that relies heavily on the inside threat of 6-foot-1 senior twins Sarah and Katie Fajer, were hitting on all cylinders on this night, getting outside scoring from Sarah Fajer and freshman guard Anna Goodloe.
"They tried to take our inside game away," said Kirkpatrick. "But we were ready to score from anywhere on the court tonight."
Defensively, the Falcons were equally impressive, using a suffocating defense to create a bevy of City turnovers, including steals and a couple handfuls of blocked shots. That approach is something Kirkpatrick sees as a stepping stone to handle what's ahead for Faith in the state playoffs.
"It was a true team effort tonight," Kirkpatrick said. "This game was more than a league championship, this game was about preparing for the playoffs and getting our team to fire on all cylinders heading into next week, and I think we were able to do that."
Now the Faith girls will focus all attention to their game with Toledo. Kirkpatrick and the Falcons know firsthand how little a league title means in the postseason, after they finished the last regular season undefeated before suffering a first-round home playoff loss to Weston-McEwen 42-29.
"We know we'll have to be focused," said Kirkpatrick. "The regular season is behind us, now we'll have to be sharp if we want to continue winning against postseason competition."
After the game, all-league honors were announced: Faith's Sarah and Katie Fajer were first-team honorees, and freshman guard Izzy Steerman and sophomore guard Yolanta Penn were selected honorable mention.
The Falcons game with Toledo is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday evening.