Most Viewed Stories
Balanced scoring leading Faith Christian boys
Sullivan, Atkins, Glen power Lions to win
Last season, the Faith Christian High boys basketball team could've been classified as the Blake Lavin-Micah Atkins show.
Lavin, an A-D All-Area first-team selection last season, averaged 23.6 points per game as a senior, while Atkins poured in 15.1 points per contest, leading the Lions to an impressive 21-7 record.
This year, however, it's a different story.
With five starters who can erupt for a big game at any time, the Lions have a more balanced scoring attack this season, and as a result, Faith Christian is feeling confident heading into its Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League campaign.
"I would say the strength of this team is that they're very unselfish and are willing to work together," said Lions coach Rick Daugherty. "Any one of them can go off an any given night, and they complement each other well."
Unselfish play was the key on Tuesday night as the Lions received double-digit scoring efforts from three players en route to a 65-50 victory over Paradise Adventist at C.A. Summy Gymnasium in Yuba City.
Leading the charge for the Lions was senior guard Jordan Sullivan, who scored a team-high 25 points as the Lions outscored the Cougars 20-5 in the final period to break open a tie game.
Junior Justin Glen added 17 points and Atkins chipped in with 15 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks for Faith, which improved to 6-2 on the year with the victory.
"All five of us can score. One game, a guy will get 29, and the next night, we'll have everybody with 15," said Atkins, a third-year varsity starter for the Lions. "Last year, if me or Blake didn't score we would have a tough time. But this year, we have guys who can pick up the slack."
It was Sullivan who picked up the slack on Tuesday by scoring 10 points in the first period before helping the Lions pull away by adding nine more in the fourth.
A transfer from New Life Christian, Sullivan said he likes the atmosphere at his new school and added that his teammates have been nothing but supportive.
"My teammates are great. They're unselfish, and if you're open they'll get you the ball with a nice pass, too," he said. "They've accepted me with open arms and are very kind. They're all nice guys, so it's been easy for me."
Adding some punch inside for Faith Christian was forward Deep Bhatti, who scored six points while pulling down seven rebounds.
Daugherty also credited junior Drew Tollenaar with a strong defensive game, while forward Drew LeBlanc helped out in the post with two points and six boards.
The only thing that slowed Faith down on this night was a slow start. The Lions shot 34 percent from the field over the first three periods before connecting on 9-of-15 shots in the fourth to pull away.
"I think we could've done that in the first quarter, but we weren't hitting our shots," Daugherty said. We were missing a lot of 2-footers early."
While the Lions can put up the points with the best of them, the difference will be made on the defensive end. And with Atkins and Sullivan playing pressure defense at the top, Faith can make things difficult for opponents.
"We're a good team, but we've got to continue to get better," Sullivan added. "There's some great teams out there. We can score, but we have to guard them."