E.A. Sports Today

Faith wins sixth straight

Lions started season 0-3 under new head coach, but are now on a roll, beat Fyffe at Pete Mathews Coliseum

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Brad Yarbrough always was confident things would turn around.

His first Faith Christian basketball team had a tough time getting out of the gate, but after Saturday’s 70-53 win over Fyffe in the TV24 Holiday Showcase at Pete Mathews Coliseum the Lions have a nice little six-game winning streak going.

“Really, it’s just been the mentality, how they approach the game,” Yarbrough said of the difference. “The first three games they were just unsure. You could kind of tell there wasn’t rhythm on offense; hadn’t really figured it out yet. Now we’ve kind of hit that stride. I knew it would only be a matter of time before they started clicking a little bit.”

Jordan Griswould enjoyed his best day ever in the building. He scored 25 points and got the Lions off to a big start. He scored nine of their points in an 11-2 opening run that gave them a lead they never lost.

He also grabbed 10 rebounds, had seven assists and blocked four shots.

It was only the third time he has played in the building. He scored 12 here in the Calhoun County Tournament as a freshman, but was held to only four in last year’s tournament.

“I guess today I was just feeling it,” he said. “I just wanted to be a lot more aggressive this year and get to the line a lot more. I knew my team needed me and I tried to help out.”

Caleb McCord picked up the pace in the second half and scored 12 of his 19 after halftime, and each time the Red Devils tried to make a run at the Lions’ lead he was the calming influence. Jack Sills, who has been a monster on the boards during the winning streak, had 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Lions (6-3) led 33-30 at halftime, then opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run before Fyffe made its first field goal. McCord got it started with one of his three 3-pointers and had back-to-back buckets to push the lead to 10.

His 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter gave the Lions a 54-38 lead.

“I knew what kind of players they could be,” Yarbrough said. “I knew how close they were, how hard they worked this summer, what they put into it. Hard work pays off eventually. I was fairly confident it would come around sooner than later.”

Of course, the Lions would like to think what they showed Saturday isn’t the finished version.

“It’s progressing; it’s going at the pace we’d like for it to right now,” Yarbrough said. “There’s a long way to go. We have high ambitions for what we want to do. We’d like to be back here a few more times. We can control that.”

Faith Christian 70, Fyffe 53

FYFFE (2-2) – Seth Bennefield 0 2-2 2, Chad Gray 4 0-0 8, John Hendrick 0 0-0 0, Tyler Ashley 1 2-2 4, Mason Barber 3 3-3 9, Josh Noles 0 0-0 0, Payton Anderson 3 0-1 6, Cyle Collins 3 2-3 8, Logan Sears 2 0-0 4, Parker Goodwin 0 0-0 0, Ethan Jones 2 2-5 6, Jase Jones 3 0-0 6. Totals 21 11-16 53.

FAITH CHRISTIAN (6-3) – Caleb McCord 8 0-2 19, Jordan Griswould 6 12-14 25, Jameson Adams 3 0-0 6, David Wall 0 0-0 0, Jack Sills 4 4-7 12, Michael Kulick 0 0-0 0, Alex Taylor 2 2-3 8, Julien Key 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 18-26 70.

Fyffe 8 22 8 15 — 53
Faith 15 18 21 16 — 70

3-point goals: Faith 6 (McCord 3, Griswould, Taylor 2). Fouled out: Ashley. Total fouls: Fyffe 20, Faith 17. Officials: Winn, Strott, Hollingsworth.

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