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BREAKING: Strong second half lifts Faith boys over Bay

December 11, 2010 | 04:00 PM
Williams Bay -- For the next year, the Faith Christian boys basketball squad can go by a different name -- the King of the Bay.

That's because the Eagles overcame a 16-12 halftime deficit to rally for a 40-36 win over crosstown rival Williams Bay Saturday afternoon.

Both Bay and Faith fans participated in a "Gray Out." Gray T-shirts were sold with proceeds going toward cancer research. There wasn't an empty seat in the house as the raucous crowd accentuated what has become a competitive rivalry over the past seven seasons.

Although it was a "Gray Out," Faith sophomore Noah Gray was all in, all the time. The 6-foot-3 guard paced the Eagles with 10 points including a late steal and bucket to extend Faith's lead to 31-22. Gray scored six points during a late 14-1 Faith run to help spark the Eagles to a comeback victory.

"I really wanted to beat Bay this year," Gray said. "They are our big rival. It felt pretty good. We're a young team, but we're good."

From the opening tip, the Bay was all over the place on both sides of the court. The Bulldogs hounded the Eagles defensively with full-court pressure and punished the Eagles in the paint, neutralizing Faith leading scorer Ben Sass. The Bay led, 11-6, after the first quarter.

But buckets from freshman Joe Ingersoll and Alex Montsma in the second quarter helped Faith tame the Bulldog surge, cutting the lead to 16-12 at halftime.

The second half is when everything changed. Faith came out of the locker room more focused, forced turnovers and started hitting more shots. Faith coach Brian Pollard's halftime speech worked.

"I told them at halftime on a scale of one to 10 for hustle (in the first half), they were at a 10 and we were at a two," Pollard said about his team. "The Bay took us out of our game in the first half. They out-hustled us. We needed to pick up our intensity. We did a better job running our offense and keeping our composure in the second half. I called a timeout halfway through the third quarter and ripped into the guys for not hustling. Then they picked up their intensity."

Pollard called the timeout with 5:25 left in the third after a Chad Pharris three-point bucket. From that point on, Faith finished the game on a 23-15 run.

Sass began the day averaging 21 points per game but was held to only eight. However, all eight came in the fourth quarter. Sass fouled out with two minutes remaining, but Faith had built a 37-27 advantage.

"We worked pretty hard," Sass said. "I was sick this week, but I just sucked it up and played. We ran our plays well in the second half. We were able to run down the clock at the end. We all know we're a young team. But we try to play like seniors."

The Bulldogs had trouble scoring in the second half. With leading scorer Lawrence Crement in foul trouble, poor ball handling and turnovers doomed the Bay. Crement and Pharris each scored eight points to lead the team, but coach Troy Nottestad said someone else must emerge.

"I was a little worried despite being up four points at halftime," he said. "I knew they were going to start scoring. I have no problem with the effort our kids put in tonight. We lack the ability to make plays right now. We just couldn't get the ball in the hole enough. We're lacking guys that can score. There's no doubt about it."

For a complete story including photos and comments from Nottestad, Pollard and Pharris, check Wednesday's Regional News.

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