ARVADA - The Lady Eagles are having some commitment issues.
Faith Christian, the reigning 3A state champions, has not looked like the same team from last season and it isn’t just because they lost seven seniors to graduation.
Last year’s team had a special chemistry that complemented their talent and work ethic, which propelled them to a state title.
This season the Eagles haven’t found that chemistry for a variety of reasons, both on and off the court, and because of it they were blown out on their home court by Lutheran 52-20 on Friday night.
Faith Christian (5-10 overall, 0-5 Metro League) physically showed up to a near full gym of spectators, but mentally and emotionally they were a no-show.
“I am wondering if my girls did not see themselves able to come out and compete against this team tonight,” Faith Christian coach Brittany Barnhill said. “We are trying to put all of the pieces together but we are really struggling to do so.”
The Eagles were attacked by Lutheran early and, near the end of the first quarter, frustration boiled over and Faith Christian players were not only battling the Lions but they were battling each other.
“We need to develop more chemistry,” Faith Christian sophomore Carsen Cambier said. “We need to work harder, on and off the court. There are some of us who put extra time into this but we all need to if we want to start winning games.”
Cambier led the Eagles with eight points. Lutheran junior Jennifer Vigil scored a game-high 17 points.
The second half was a different story and Faith Christian turned up their defensive intensity, holding Lutheran to just four third quarter points. But it was too little, too late for the Eagles.
“I think we thought it was going to be handed to us this season because of our success last season. We got a reality check. It’s a maturity issue, it’s a learning the game issue, it has been a lot of things and we just haven’t found that spark yet,” Barnhill said.
Still, the Eagle hasn’t flown the coop just yet. The bottom line is Faith Christian is still one of the more talented teams in their league. And while their record certainly isn’t flattering, it also isn’t an indication of who they really are. And their coach still thinks if her team can get their acts together they are capable of a deep playoff run.
“We are really going to try and come out these last games and get wins before the playoffs and try to not have this be a rebuilding year,” Faith Christian junior Hannah Hock said. “But each person has to come out and really find it within themselves.”
The Eagles have four regular season games left on their schedule, all very winnable (including Tuesday’s contest against St. Mary’s Academy). All four games are against teams in the bottom half of their league standings including their regular season finale against last place Manuel on Feb. 20.
If Faith Christian can win out, which their coach thinks they are capable of doing, the Eagles will get their record (and league record) nearly back to .500. They could also find themselves peaking at just the right time as they prepare for the playoffs.
The Eagles will play at Jefferson Academy Friday at 7 p.m. in Broomfield.