Faith Christian defeated Sacred Heart 48-28 in the first round of the Calhoun County Tournament, holding its own on defense, especially in the second half.
“Our defense has led our offense,” Dawson said. “We’re a much better team in the transition than we are in the half-court set. We’ve been trying to speed the game up, and it’s worked to our advantage.”
Faith Christian was led offensively by guard Madison Stephens, who had 15 points.
She said when the Lady Lions have numbers, it’s easier to push the ball down the court.
Faith Christian was able to do that often in the first quarter, jumping out to a 12-2 lead that was sparked by eight straight points.
But it all goes back to defense. While Stephens was the game’s leading scorer, Dawson was quick to point out the defensive play of Madelyn Adams, who finished with nine points.
“Over the last few days I can’t say enough about Madalyn Adams,” he said. “Her defense has shut some people down. If she plays like she has then we’ll be OK.”
Even with a 28-15 lead at halftime, Dawson “wasn’t too happy” with the team because he wanted Faith to finish strong, which has been a problem in the past.
Faith returned to the court and held Sacred Heart (0-13) to eight points in the third quarter and five points in the fourth.
“I think we played a lot better,” Adams said. “We all hustled and just played better.”
Zainab Sanusi led Sacred Heart with nine points and Monique Oblena added seven points and seven rebounds.
The win advances Faith (10-9) to the quarterfinals, where the Lady Lions will face third-seeded Jacksonville, which defeated Wellborn 86-6 in the first round. The game is set for Thursday at 4 p.m.
“They shoot the ball well, they play defense well and they don’t do anything bad,” Dawson said. “All 10 of them can play. It’s going to be a tough challenge, but we’re going to get in the gym (Thursday), get after it and see what we can do.”
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.