The Falcons finish another successful winter season losing in the NCISAA 2A Final Four against Grace Christian of Sanford last week. The Falcons finished the season with a 26-3 record and were crowned the Tri TAC Regular Season and Tournament Champion. This marks the 5th 20+ win season since 2017, including four NCISAA final four trips in those five seasons.
“Our program success is a testament to our players,” shares Coach Lulu Brase. “They aren’t a one-trick pony or just one successful team, they have been a part of building the legacy as one of the top programs in the state of North Carolina. Our sustained success through the years is all due to these girls and their dedication and hard work for something bigger than self.”
The Falcons took their momentum from Tri-TAC play right into their NCISAA State Playoff run. After a double bye to open the playoffs, the Falcons hosted Neuse Christian on Saturday, February 18th for a 3rd round match up. The Falcons got out of the gates quickly and took a 28-14 lead into the halftime locker room. During the second half the Falcons continued to dominate on both ends leading to 15 forced turnovers and 28 points in the paint on the afternoon. Tamiya Judd led the Falcons with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and was joined by Kennedy Moore’s 15 points and 5 steals and Ashanti Fox’s 10 points and 7 assists.
Next up, the Falcons hosted Statesville Christian in the NCISAA Quarterfinal matchup. On a cold shooting night, the Falcons used their defense to speed up the Lions and create 15 steals and 25 deflections on the evening. Ashanti Fox led all scorers with her 5th 30 point performance of the season, adding in 5 steals and 5 assists on the night. A shooting bright spot for the Falcons was junior Reily Johnson who added 10 points, including two timely 3 pointers to help the Falcons pull away in the contest.
The win moved the Falcons into the NCISAA 2A Final Four for the 4th time in the past five years to face state wide favorite, Grace Christian of Sanford. On a cold night from the floor the Falcons struggled to get their offense going throughout the first half.
“The moment kind of got to us a bit, and when we couldn’t get a shot to fall, the frustration set in. I think halftime really showed what our team is made of. They never quit and started battling back,” shared Coach Brase. “The outcome is tough, however, I couldn’t be more proud of our girls for how they stayed resilient and battled until the end. That grit shows the true character of this group!”
The second half saw the Falcons battle until the final buzzer never allowing the scoreboard to damper their fight. The Falcons held Grace to a 21-26 second half, however, it wasn’t enough as the Falcons saw their season come to a close with a final of 35-77 in the NCISAA Semifinals.
“Our final game will be a tough one for a while, as we all wished it would have gone differently, especially in terms of our shots falling” shared Brase. “However, this was one of the most united teams I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching. They truly loved each other like family. From team meals to their dancing pregame in the locker room, this group was always full of smiles, laughter and joy. That is the true measure of success – wins and losses will come and go, but this group will leave this season with memories that will last a lifetime and as a coach, there is nothing more I can hope for.”
The Falcons finish the season with an overall record of 26-3, with their 3 losses all coming to teams who competed in the State Championships in 1A and 2A. In addition, they added a 6th straight Tri TAC Regular
Season and Tournament Championship and continued their 6-year undefeated conference win streak. Congratulations to all team members and coaches on a tremendous 2022-2023 season.
Photos by Wendy Hodges : GBB End of Season Press Release