Going into Tuesday, Faith Christian’s first-year coach Robert Brothers knew the Patriots were in for a long night.
Facing the Eastern Plains Independent Conference’s best team was going to be everything that his team, which still has practiced just 20 times with Brothers as the coach, could handle. Cary Christian jumps passing lanes on defense and plays with an infectious unselfishness on the offensive end of the court.
With Luke Mills – one of the team’s key ballhandlers off the bench – out injured because of an elbow procedure, sure hands were at a premium at Faith Christian School.
The Knights’ full-court pressure was engaged early as Cary Christian sent waves of athletes at the Patriots’ guards. It didn’t seem like there were many sure hands on the court by the time Faith Christian’s 78-50 loss was complete.
“We knew it was going to be a long night,” Brothers said. “I think, far and away, that’s the best team we’ve seen. I don’t see anybody beating them.”
Six different players scored in the first quarter alone for Cary Christian (13-4, 6-0 EPIC). By the end of the game, all 11 players who dressed scored and nine players scored at least four points.
“You can’t guard everybody,” Brothers said. “You have to key on certain people. No matter who we keyed on, the other guy hit it (Tuesday). It was a long night, a long night.”
James Turner scored 17 points to lead Faith Christian, which will play Friday for a chance to move into sixth place in the EPIC and avoid Cary Christian in the first round of the conference tournament.
With its own depth issues caused by Mills’ absence, the Patriots (10-10, 1-6) were unable to contend with the Knights, who rolled players off the bench five at a time on multiple occasions.
“It’s impossible,” Brothers said. “We went big, they got rebounds. We went as small as we could for ball handling. ... We couldn’t get a good lineup in there.”
While the Patriots never scored more than 18 points in any quarter, Cary Christian scored fewer than 20 only once as the Knights’ rebounding gave them extra opportunities, which consistently turned into points.
Cary Christian 45 Faith Christian 18
Danny Sewell, the Patriots’ girls’ coach, shared Brothers’ opinion of the Knights shortly after his own team’s loss.
“Probably, in my opinion, they’re probably the best team we’ve played so far,” Sewell said.
Cary Christian (12-2, 4-0) played like the top team in the conference as well.
Faith Christian (8-9, 0-4) scored just one field goal in each of the first two quarters and scored five points or fewer in every quarter.
“They just jumped out to a big lead, and there wasn’t anything we could do,” Sewell said. “They have so much athletic ability, even on their bench.”
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org