DENVER – Faith Christian Academy began the season atop the rankings in class 3A boys basketball.
Faith Christian Academy ended the season with a state basketball title, its seventh in school history and its first since 2012.
The Eagles took advantage of a strong defensive effort in the second half and an 18-point performance from Carson Jasa to a 54-45 win over Salida High School March 11 at the University of Denver.
“I’m very pleased,” Jasa said, “Just knowing how much work this team put in and how dedicated we were to making this end goal and taking it minute by minute, possession by possession. It ended up being great.”
Keegan Paige added 16 points to the Eagles’ cause. Master Diggins, who left the game for a short time after an injury, contributed eight.
“We’ve been playing together for a long time,” Paige said. “We’ve put in the work, hard work, every single day. It paid off today. We knew we were a good team the whole way, no question.”
“Our boys battled and pushed through,” said FCA coach Abram Ziemer. “We had to play three tough teams in the playoffs. They pushed through on both nights. Tonight, they shared the ball Salida had to guard all five players on the floor. That’s tough to do with high-schoolers.”
Ziemer said most of the time, he could depend on three dominant scorers most nights.
“But at the same time, we had multiple guys who were scoring 15 points here and there,” Ziemer said. “It was fun to watch them play. Some nights, it’s been like, ‘OK, who’s going to be the guy?’ But it’s been fun working with these guys.”
Tristan Jackson led the Spartans with 23 points. But his other teammates couldn’t pick up the slack, thanks in part to the Eagles’ defense. Chase Diesslen had 10, and Nate Yearsley added six.
“I’m not much of a basketball player,” Jasa said. “I can play some defense. I’m tall, I’m long. And I love to block shots.”
“We’ve had six seniors who have been together for so long,” Ziemer said. “Several of them have grown up together since kindergarten. It’s fun to see. So many people have said, ‘If you figure this out and you reach your potential, you’ll get there some day.’ It’s fun to see it come to fruition.”
“We knew we were the best team,” Jasa said. “We knew we had to perform, and it wasn’t going to be easy. We knew we were No. 1, and we proved it today.”
Faith Christian finished 25-1. The only loss was to Eagle Ridge Academy.
“It’s hard to win a state title, even if you are the No. 1 team,” Ziemer said. “I believed in these guys at the beginning of the year. When the first rankings came out at the beginning of the year and we were the No. 1 team, that puts a little bit of pressure on you. These guys owned up to that and believed they were the No. 1 team.”