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Late lay-up sends Faith Academy girls basketball to the second round of the playoffs

CAPTION: Faith Academy guard Elleson Lehmberg was instrumental in helping the Lady Flames advance to the second round of the playoffs. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The Faith Academy of Marble Falls girls basketball team defeated Houston Northland Christian 37-35 Feb. 11 to advance to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.

Next up is Tomball Rosehill Christian, the No. 1 team in Class 3A, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, in Tomball.

The winning shot came from Claire Poage, who waited until Elleson Lehmberg drew the defense to her on a drive, snuck to the opposite side of the basket, and waited for her teammate to get the ball to her. Poage immediately scored. When the play started, the Lady Flames had six seconds left to attempt the winning shot.

“This definitely boosts our confidence,” head coach Kat Canada said. “We ended district with three losses in a row. For them to put a game together and come out with a win is a big deal.”

Canada noted the Lady Flames had been steady offensively throughout the contest.

“We were consistent with scoring,” she said. “We didn’t have long periods where we didn’t score. We were up by 12 with two minutes left.”

She noted the players had an offensive rhythm and flow that allowed them to build that lead while taking advantage of their opportunities.

“We were hitting shots and getting open looks,” she said. “We connected on a few 3-pointers, and we were finishing lay-ups.”

The Lady Flames had to overcome some early adversity. Senior McKenzie Ahrlett was bothered with an injury that kept her out of the contest at the beginning. And Lehmberg, who connected on a 3-pointer right before the horn sounded to end the first half, landed on someone’s foot and had to endure some pain for a short while as she completed the 4-point play.

Still, Faith wouldn’t be denied. Canada noted her squad entered the playoffs on a three-game losing streak where they lost by a couple of possessions.

“Those were tough games, and (my players) knew they should have won those games,” she said. “Hopefully we are on our way.”

Morgan Weems led with 10 points followed by Poage with 8 and Lehmberg scored 7.

Canada saw many positives from her players that illustrate plenty about their approach to preparation.

“Hopefully this sends us into good momentum for Rosehill,” she said. “You never know. Hopefully it sends us with momentum.”

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