The Faith Christian School girls basketball team scored a pair of welcome victories last week, trimming South Metro 53-31 Tuesday, Jan. 14, then topping Hope Christian 67-32 Friday.
Both wins came on the road. Why were they so welcome for FCS Coach Mike Sohre and his team?
Because, after starting the season 6-0 the Saints went into a slump Jan. 10-11 at the North Metro Tournament where they lost all three of their games.
“We went into that tournament after a two-week holiday break and two lost practices because of the cold weather,” said Sohre. “And, the layoff was evident as we looked tired and, overall, played poorly.
“The girls tried but the energy just wasn’t there.”
Faith Christian lost to South Metro 60-51, Coulee Christian (which won the tournament) 56-43 and North Metro 46-41.
Things got better last week, though. Much better.
The Saints avenged the loss to South Metro, in decisive fashion.
“Our change in focus had incredible results,” said Sohre. “We cut their point total by 29 points from the tournament game and really clamped down on their two good guards, holding them to a total of 13 points after they totaled 38 in our tournament loss.”
Junior guard Irina Danilyuk led FCS with 20 points which included five three-point baskets. Senior guard Andy Vermeer and junior forward-center Ashley Johnson each added 11 points while seventh-grade guard Lauren Curott had five points. Johnson also had 13 rebounds and seven steals.
The Saints rolled to a 23-12 halftime lead.
Johnson then turned in a record-breaking performance at Hope Christian Friday in South St. Paul as she grabbed a school record 30 rebounds, breaking the former record of 25 set by Faith Britton last season against Immanuel Lutheran.
Johnson also had 22 points and eight blocked shots.
“Ashley dominated the game with gusto,” said Sohre. “And, we supported her well.
“Hope Christian has the conference’s leading scorer in Suzie Zimmer, who is averaging 27 points a game. Our goal was to hold her and their team to under 30 points total and we almost did as she scored 22 and the Hope team finished with 32.”
Danilyuk added 21 points as she made nine of 13 shots while Vermeer had eight points and junior guard Carmen Nelson and sophomore center Hannah Thompson each scored six points.
Danilyuk also had six steals and six assists.
Faith Christian, 8-3, hosts Calvin Christian Monday, Jan. 27, at 5:30, then hosts rugged Cambridge Christian Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 5:30.
“Those are two big games for us,” said Sohre. “Our practices this week are focusing on defense.
“If you focus on defense it will be one reliable component in each and every game. Offense can come and go but defense can be played well every night no matter what.”