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Faith Academy girls hoops to lean on experience, leadership

The Faith Academy of Marble Falls girls basketball team tips off the 2023-24 season against Leander Founders Classical at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, at The Fire Pit on the Faith campus.

And no one is more pumped about this season than head coach Kat Canada.

“I have the perfect 10,” she said. “I have 10 girls. I’m excited about this group.”

Th squad includes seniors Ella Cozby, Elleson Lehmberg, Audri Poage, Claire Poage, Alayna Steele, and Morgan Weems, sophomore Natalie Weems and freshmen Lily Koziel, Sidney Solomon and Kinley Virdell.

Canada noted she led the Lady Flames through an offseason, and the players worked on their individual games throughout the summer.

“I had enough to do things,” she said of the offseason program.

She also worked on herself, she added, by having conversations with other coaches on various topics that include scheme, implementation and how they communicate with their players. A former player at Georgetown High for the legendary Rhonda Farney, who has the most victories among active coaches in the nation, and at Pflugerville, Canada thought back to what she experienced as a player and what she enjoyed and wished she could change. She reflected on what she wanted to add and eliminate in herself.

“They helped me pull things I like and didn’t like,” she said.

Canada is entering her fifth year with these players, and they know each other very well. She noted they’ve witnessed important personal milestones throughout the years that have served to strengthen and deepen their bonds off the court. And she believes this is the year it comes together.

“They’re different with different experiences,” she said. “I’m also going to coach them the way they want to be coached. And I’m still a new coach. This is the season I feel they’re going to take all they’ve learned in the past five years.”

The biggest growth she has witnessed during the offseason only comes from putting in the work, she said.

“The girls are confident. They’re being out there making mistakes and trying to rectify them, trying to learn as a unit and as a team,” she said. “The whole team is so selfless. They want to work for each other. The seniors know they’re about to be out the door. They know how important it is to bring the freshmen with this group. They’ve taken to being coached and working hard. They seem they trust each other, they seem to trust me, and they trust themselves. They trust in what God has in store.”

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