(February 18, 2015) — Stephenville FAITH is sending its boys and girls basketball teams to Texas Christian Athletic League Region I-1A championship games in Loraine this Saturday.
The Lady Knights (10-8) tip off at 1 p.m. against Portales (NM) Faith Triumphant, and the Knights (18-2) follow at 2:30 p.m. against either Odessa Sherwood Christian or Odessa Embassy Academy.
The Knights are the favorite to win the regional on the boys side, having defeated Sherwood Christian and Embassy Academy twice each during the regular season.
A victory Saturday – by either FAITH team – secures a trip to the TCAL state tournament the following Thursday-Saturday (Feb. 26-28) in Bryan/College Station. A loss, however, is not necessarily season ending. Regional final losers still advance to state if they are ranked among the top four teams that did not qualify automatically.
The Knights have lost only to Flint Academy of Arlington, a team they split with this weekend, and Inspired Vision Academy of Dallas, who overcame 42 points by FAITH’s Shadd Cole to edge the Knights 57-53 Monday.
Cole, a 6-2 senior, averages 26.1 points and 9.7 rebounds per game to lead FAITH. Junior guard Branson Hardcastle averages 10.7 points nd 3.9 assists, while 6-1 junior forward Joey Braun contributes 8.5 points and 7.1 rebounds. The Knights, who are looking for their third trip to state in only three seasons on the hardwood, are coached by the homeschool program’s athletic director, Rod Cole, who is also the assistant athletic director for athletic performance at Tarleton State University.
The Lady Knights are seeking their second straight trip to state after reaching the semifinals in their inaugural season. Coached both years by Tarleton State senior student Haley Busby, FAITH is paced by junior Mikela Wand with 8.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, sophomore Olivia Harris, 8.8 points and 7.9 boards and junior point guard Jessica Wand, six points per outing.