Give ’em Heller …
Friday may have been Faith Christian’s Senior Night, but sophomore guard Sydney Heller scored 14 of her game-high 17 points in the first half as the Lions routed Lincoln Leadership Academy 52-26.
“We were getting pumped up before the game together and we’re unifying as a team,” said Heller, who added nine rebounds. “It was exciting to get a win for the seniors. And it was nice to get my shot down since it’s been off lately.”
Faith did most of its damage in the first and third quarters, where it outscored LLA 29-7. Faith opened with two seven-point runs. Two Heller runners and Emily Brownell’s three opened a 7-0 lead.
“My drive comes from the Lord. He calls us to work hard,” Heller explained. “If we work for men, we’re going to be limited and discouraged. When we work for Him, it never ends and He always loves us. The drive is to shine His light and what He has given me as a basketball player.”
Heller’s layup, Stephanie Cicero’s putback and Joy Hissner’s three-point play spotted Faith a 14-2 advantage. Hissner banked a 25-foot three at the buzzer to give Faith a 17-4 lead. “Making that shot got us pumped up and motivated,” said the freshman, who scored eight and distributed four assists. “That, and knowing it was our seniors’ last game.”
Faith, who led 27-15 at halftime, blew the game open in the third quarter. The Lions got a layup from Abby Bowersock, a layup and three from Karleigh Garber and two putbacks from Kaylee Paul to build their lead to 39-18 at the period’s end.
“We needed to get our offense together,” Paul felt. “We were off and not working as a team. We slowed down and made easy passes. Once that clicked and we started seeing the court more, it made it a lot easier.”
Bowersock grabbed nine rebounds while Garber snagged eight. Senior Paul finished with eight points and seven rebounds. Classmate Cicero added six rebounds and three assists.
The win brought Faith’s record to 11-9. The Lions sat at 3-5 on Christmas.
“We’ve been coming together on and off the court,” Paul explained.
“Spiritually, we’ve had team Bible studies together. I think it’s been super powerful when we can come together as sisters in Christ and have more to work for than just a win.”
Although it was Senior Night, coach Dave Forker has five quality underclassmen to round out his first seven.
LLA could have been a trap game. Faith throttled LLA 65-31 four days prior and faced juggernaut Jenkintown on Monday – a loss that put Faith at 6-6 in the Bicentennial.
“As coaches, we’re always trying to work on something specific, either for this game or to help us in the next game,” Forker said. “After the first quarter, we played half court only because in the next few games, we’re going to have to execute a half-court offense.”
Faith sat comfortably in the fourth of five slots for District One Class A playoffs. “We still have our goal of winning 15 games, which means winning some in the postseason,” Forker stated. “At the same time, we want God to get the glory through that. We had some adversity with Steph being out. Thankfully she was back for Senior Night. But that goal is not super important; it’s how we would get there and who we would give the glory to if we achieve it.”