By Loretta Gamboe, Staff Writer
ANKENY, Iowa—The Faith Eagles played in fine form on Friday night as they grabbed an early lead and triumphed over the AFLBS Conquerors 91-66. Saturday evening, however, was a different story as the Eagles fell to the Conquerors 91-83.
White-clad fans crowded into the Eagles' gym on Friday night for a "White Out" to cheer the Eagles on to victory. Though the Conquerors scored the first three points of the game, the Eagles responded with buckets from Kalab Sidlinger and Chase Clark to gain a 7-3 advantage. The Eagles continued to build on this lead for the rest of the game, never allowing the Conquerors to come back as they connected on 20 of 38 shots from the field to give themselves a 50-32 advantage going into halftime. Clark and Sidlinger powered the Eagles' offense in the first half with 12 and 10 points respectively.
In the second half, the Eagles allowed the Conquerors to go on an early 8-2 run, reducing the Eagles' lead to 12 at 52-40. The Eagles pressed back with lights-out shooting, hitting 14 of their 30 shots, including 5 of their 8 3-point attempts. Sam Pedersen and Tanner Van Beek led the Eagles' offensive efforts in the second half as Pedersen went 4 for 4 from beyond the arc and Van Beek scored 9 points in 14 minutes of play.
Five of the Eagles scored in double digits on Friday. Point guard Sam Pedersen contributed a season-high 21 points, including 5 of 5 3-pointers, as well as 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Chase Clark had the game's only double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Tanner Van Beek had 15 points and 6 rebounds, and Kalab Sidlinger had 12 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. Micah Stinson rounded out the Eagles' scoring with 11 points, while Jason Conable grabbed 10 rebounds.
Though the Eagles' fantastic shooting continued into Saturday's game, it wasn't enough to overcome the Conquerors a second time. The Eagles shot 51.9% from the field and 50% from the 3-point line, but the Conquerors shot 55.8% from the field. The real struggle for the Eagles was the Conquerors' free throw shooting, as they made 26 of 36 free throws to outpace the Eagles and win the game 91-83.
After just four minutes of play, the game was tied at 10; the Conquerors went on a 7-0 run to gain a 17-10 lead. The Eagles brought the game within two points at 22-24 with 9 minutes left in the first half, and two minutes later a pair of free throws from Kalab Sidlinger put the Eagles back in the lead 27-26. This lead was short-lived, however, as the Conquerors outscored the Eagles 11-2 in the next four minutes; by halftime, the Eagles were down 36-43.
The Eagles nearly came back in the second half; with fourteen minutes left to play, the Eagles were only down by 3 at 53-56. They kept the game within ten points, but despite cutting the Conquerors' lead to fewer than five points several times throughout the half, the Eagles were never able to regain the lead. The game largely came down to free throws, as the Eagles shot better than the Conquerors from the field in the second half.
Freshman Daniel Guess led the Eagles in scoring with a career-high 20 points, including 4 of 6 3-pointers. Chase Clark was a rebound away from a double-double with 16 points and 9 rebounds, and Sam Pedersen was an assist away from a double-double with 12 points and 9 assists. Kalab Sidlinger and Tanner Van Beek contributed 15 and 10 points respectively.
The Eagles will return to action Monday evening with a road game at Kansas Christian College at 6 p.m.