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The Falcons defeat the Vikings and earn a spot in the OSAA 2A Girls State Basketball Tournament Mar. 3-5.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Faith Bible senior Taylor Masterson drives past a Colton defender during the two teams first round playoff game Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Forest Hills Lutheran School in Cornelius.It had been almost four years since the Faith Bible girls basketball team advanced to the state tournament, but that streak ended as the Falcons defeated Colton 33-30 in a first round playoff game Saturday night, Feb. 26, at the Forest Hills Lutheran School in Cornelius.

With their win, Faith will face Union in the 2A quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Mar. 3, at the Pendleton Convention Center.

Faith Bible head coach Brent Masterson was obviously thrilled with the win and the upcoming trip to the state tournament, but stopped to acknowledge the unlikely nature of what had transpired over the last few months.

"We didn't think we were going to be here this year," Masterson said. "We thought it was going to be kind of a good year, but not to this point. We just want to go have fun now."

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Faith Bible senior Ashley Lohman drives the lane during the Falcons' first round playoff game with Colton Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Forest Hills Lutheran School in Cornelius.Fun is what Masterson said Faith Bible basketball is all about. From the lights, the loud music and the raucous crowd in their home gym at the Forest Hills Lutheran School, it's about a good time and he and his girls made sure of that in front of the Falcons faithful Saturday night.

"To us it's about having fun," he said. "We have a saying, 'make everybody in the gym want to be a Falcon.' That's the way we play, and that's the way we'll play at state. We're playing with house money."

Faith was led by Masterson's daughter Taylor who scored a game high 13 points, but the game's biggest moments came compliments of junior guard Becca Warren and senior and co-captain Ashley Lohman.

With the game tied 15-15 early in the second half, Warren scored five straight points to put the home crowd at ease. Then after the visiting Vikings pulled back within three midway through the final stanza, Lohman scored seven consecutive points, putting Faith ahead 31-23 with just under four minutes to play.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Faith Bible players celebrate following their first round playoff win over Colton Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Forest Hills Lutheran School in Cornelius.Coach Masterson spoke glowingly about both Warren and Lohman after the game, but at the same time said he's come to expect that type of performance from the girls that he said have truly taken a leadership role this season.

"That's Becca (Warren), she comes up so big in so many moments," Masterson said. "She averaged like three points per game, but the last two games she's scored seven or eight points and has just made plays. She's fearless."

Yet, despite it all the Vikings had their chances. After falling behind by eight with just three minutes to play, Izzy English cut the lead to five with a three-pointer, Natalia Chianello cut it to three with a lay-in off of a steal, and when English scored again with 1:40 left in regulation, Colton trailed just 31-30 and the home crowd was getting restless.

Masterson said he's come to expect the roller coasters that come with this team.

"We're a running team, so we get those runs, but we also give them up and that's the hard part," the coach said. "We create them, but we have to survive them as well."

And they survived this one too, thwarting a Colton possession with a chance to take the lead in the final 19 seconds and—after Taylor Masterson made two free throws with :08 on the clock—dodging a last second Olivia Haines-Hooker three-pointer as the buzzer sounded shortly after her late heave hit the back iron.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Faith Bible junior Adrienne Mallory scans the Colton defense during the two teams' first round playoff game Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Forest Hills Lutheran School in Cornelius."It really just came down to us making a couple key shots," Coach Masterson said. "Credit to Colton though, they played amazing and took us completely out of our game."

Nonetheless, the Falcons survived and as a result they'll be at the state tournament—something that left Lohman nearly at a loss for words.

"It's pretty awesome because I didn't expect this," Lohman said. "We lost four seniors from last year's team, so to do this is just great."

Faith Bible scorers included: Masterson 13, Lohman 8, Adrienne Mallory 5, Warren 5, Alexis Mallory 2.

Colton scorers included: English 11, Haines-Hooker 7, Hailee Hordichok 5, Avery Reiland 5, Chianello 2.


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