Opposing styles on display in TAPPS regional
By By TAYLOR MITCHELL - TMITCHELL@VICAD.COM
Feb. 25, 2013 at 11:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 24, 2013 at 8:25 p.m.
As the Lady Cougars sat in the locker room minutes after having their season come to an end in a 37-36 in the first round of last year's TAPPS Class 2A playoffs, there wasn't much that could be said to ease the pain.
But head coach Dusty Lemke found a way to give hope.
"I remember after last year I talked to them and said 'This isn't it,'" Lemke recalled. "'We can go through something special next year if we show up every day and put in the hard work.' That is one of the things that have inspired them."
Faith Academy is one game away from achieving something special - a trip to the state finals in Mansfield this weekend.
"It's a great feeling," junior Courtne Grevey said. "Some people didn't think we would make it here, but we proved them wrong just being in this position."
The Lady Cougars (25-14), ranked 19th in the last TABC small private schools poll, upset No. 14 Spring Providence 47-42 on Saturday. In the first round, they defeated New Braunfels Christian.
In Moulton on Tuesday night, Faith will fight for one of four spots in this weekend's state tournament against Austin Waldorf.
"They're going to play really physical defense, and they have a good point guard," Lemke said. "She averages about 25 points a game. She's kind of a combination of the girls we've seen the last couple of weeks."
Lemke said there won't be just one person shouldering the load. All of his guards will play a role in the defense. Grevey, the team's starting point guard, will be getting a lot of responsibility.
"We just have to capitalize on their errors and execute our game plan," Grevey said. "We still have to play as a team and work together."
Offensively, the Lady Cougars will keep doing what has worked for them so far, and that's running the court and scoring a lot of points.
"We run the floor a lot, and that's our offense. That's what we're strong at," senior Bianca Sanchez said. "It'll be a good matchup for us because they're more of a low-scoring team, and we're a high-scoring team. I think if we get them to play our game, we'll have a good chance."
Another variable Faith's offense has is there isn't one person a defense can focus on. The Lady Cougars have five players who average eight points or more per game, including senior Sarah Alex, who has been on a tear lately, averaging 14 points per game since district play started.
"It says a lot about who we are that we've had a different leading scorer the last few games," Lemke said. "That is what gave us the advantage against Spring Providence. They started keying on Sarah (Alex), and that opened it up for someone else."
Sanchez is one of six seniors on the roster for Faith and will be able to provide insight and experience into games with state tournament implications.
"It's a whole different atmosphere once you walk into that gym," Sanchez said. "Everything you've worked for is right there in that gym, and you want to lay it all down on the line."
Tuesday night is an important game for the Lady Cougars, but Monday, less than 24 hours until tipoff, you wouldn't have been able to tell it.
"Considering the moment and situation we're in, the girls are pretty loose," Lemke said. "They've been loose but focused."
"We're ready," Sanchez said. "We came a long way since the beginning of the season. I can honestly say we're a lot stronger as a team and ready to take the next step."