Faith Christian guard Luke Miller

Faith Christian’s Connor Taylor (11) gets ready to shoot a free throw during Friday night’s basketball game against Bethel Christian.

Faith Christian Academy came out hot at the start of Friday night’s basketball game.

Drives to the basket, getting to the free throw line, and short-range jumpers. Everything seemed to work against Bethel Christian Academy.

That is until the Trojans used their suffocating half-court press.

Bethel Christians’ athleticism and length put Faith Christian into uncomfortable positions. The costly turnovers and fast-break points that followed led to the Conquerors’ 54-41 loss.

“I hate losing,” said Conquerors’ head coach Jeff Stocks. “We didn’t play terrible, but athletically we’re out classed. We have to try and play our game and do the small things right, and I thought for three quarters we did a really good job of that.”

After the Conquerors took what appeared to be a commanding 17-10 lead in the first quarter, the game flipped in the next quarter.

The Trojans pressured the ball at half court, and eventually seized a 25-21 halftime lead.

Despite the Conquerors’ best efforts, Bethel Christian outscored Faith Christian 29-20 in the third and fourth quarters combined.

“In fourth quarter when we got behind by four, I think we panicked,” Stocks said. “It wasn’t on purpose, but in our mindset, we quit being patient. We give them four shots every time they go down the court, we quit boxing out.

“We made turnovers we haven’t made the whole game and we just didn’t score towards the end.”

Faith Christian turned the ball over 20 times and struggled to collect rebounds against Bethel Christian’s players.

Logan Pittman led the Conquerors with 14 points and six rebounds. Luke Miller and Blaise Conlon each scored seven points.

Stocks said his team shot the ball well in the first half, but added he wants the Crusaders to slow down the pace of game, take good shots, and be patient when hit with the half-court press.

“We’re young with one senior and we’re just playing teams that more athletics than we are,” Stocks said. “We’re going to keep working and we’ve played a couple of bad games recently, but this game to me was a positive for us.”