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Faith Christian boys tame Trinity Prep
Lions record 88-54 blowout after slow start
Through the first quarter of play on Wednesday night, the Faith Christian High boys basketball team didn't look like the top-ranked team in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoffs.
There wasn't really a good answer for the Lions' stagnant play over the first 8 minutes.
Coach Rick Daugherty thought it might have been nerves, senior forward Drew LeBlanc attributed it to being a little too confident and senior guard Micah Atkins said Faith just flat out didn't play well — that all changed in a matter of minutes.
Faith went from shooting 35 percent from the field in the first quarter to 70 percent in the second as the Lions blew open Wednesday's playoff opener and eventually ran away with an 88-54 blowout over Trinity Prep of Napa at C.A. Summy Gymnasium.
"We knew what we had to do, but we just weren't doing it," Atkins said regarding the first quarter. "We picked it up on the boards, on defense, and then the game went on like it was supposed to."
Faith committed eight turnovers in the first period and missed several shots from point-blank range.
The Lions led 25-22 in the second before erupting for a 20-4 run to end the first half, capped off by Justin Glen's 3-pointer.
LeBlanc scored eight of Faith's 30 second-quarter points and finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, while adding in tremendous play on the defensive end.
"We just all looked at each other (after the first quarter) and said we needed to turn things around," LeBlanc said. "I wanted to step up and help us win a basketball game."
Several Lions also followed that train of thought including Atkins, who scored a team-high 20 points and mixed it up in the post to grab 10 rebounds. The senior also picked up five assists.
Six Lions ended up in double-figures: Atkins (20), LeBlanc (16), Deep Bhatti (12), Glen (11), Jordan Sullivan (11) and Austin Cooper (11).
The Lions (23-5) led 45-26 at halftime and pushed that lead to 67-35 after the third quarter before Daugherty took out his starters for the final period.
"I'm glad they got this out of the way," Daugherty said. "It shouldn't have been that close, which is frustrating. They picked it up in the second half and started playing with composure. It just wasn't a characteristic game for us."
Not lost in the shuffle was the performance of Trinity Prep's sophomore sensation Jordan Franklin, the leading scorer in California and No. 3 scorer in the country. He dropped in a game-high 37 points, just above his average of 35.5 points per game.
Faith now turns its attention to No. 4 seed Turlock Christian, which defeated No. 5 Lodi Academy 70-53 on Wednesday. The two teams will tip off on Friday at 7 p.m. in Yuba City.
The winner advances to the Division VI title game on Feb. 28 at Galt High School.
Turlock's 12-15 record is misleading, considering nine of the 14 players on its roster are 6 feet or taller, including two 6-5 players and a 6-6 forward.
As Faith discovered in the first quarter on Wednesday, a seed is just a number on a piece of paper.
"That is not a game to take lightly at all," Daugherty said. "We have to really be ready for that."