The 2014-2015 Faith Eagle's Men's Basketball Season was a record setting season. Through the Lord's blessing, the men were able to set new school records for consecutive wins and wins in a season, as well as winning both the regular season and conference tournament championships. The Eagle's also finished as the regional tournament runner up and the ACCA National Tournament runner up, pulling upset wins in both tournaments to advance to the championship games.
The Eagles started the season hot, winning their first four games, which included a win over defending conference champion Manhattan Christian College along with a win over Barclay College. Injuries and illness plagued the Eagles for the rest of the first semester, as they limped into the break having lost four of their final five first semester games to stand at 5-4.
Coming out of the break, Coach Fincham asked the men to change the way they had been doing things, implementing a five in five out rotation while turning up the pressure to full court on their opponents. The result was an Eagles team that exploded onto the scene in the second semester. The men wore down their opponents, earning a new school record 12 wins in a row while leading the nation in scoring and assists for much of the semester. Having already secured the conference regular season championship, the Eagles hit a bump in the road in their second to last game of the semester, falling at Ozark Christian College, but the bump seemed to wake the Eagles up, as they defeated Calvary Bible the next day with renewed energy, and carried that energy into the conference tournament at Barclay College.
The Eagles opened tournament play with a win over St. Louis Christian College, a game in which everyone had the opportunity to play. Their semi-final match up featured Manhattan Christian College. The game was a classic, with the Eagles needing overtime to earn the final two point win. In the championship, the Eagles faced host and conference tournament regular season runner up Barclay College. Simply put, the Eagles would not be denied, running up a 17 point lead in the first half and then pushing the lead to as much as 30 in the second half, as the Eagles earned the conference tournament championship for the first time since 1998. The combination of regular season and conference tournament championships was the first time since 1977 an Eagle men's team had won both.
The Eagles entered the regional tournament as the #3 seed, having lost to both Trinity Bible and North Central during their first semester losing streak. Faith faced host Trinity Bible in the semi final, and in a game of runs, it was the Eagles who put together the final run to win the game and advance to the championship. North Central advanced on the other side of the bracket and the two teams faced off in the championship. The Eagles led for the first 15 minutes of the game, but an unfortunate injury and foul trouble allowed NCU to take the lead, and the Eagles could never recover.
After regionals, the Eagles traveled down to the ACCA National Tournament, where they were the #4 seed. The 11 team field featured 4 teams that had been ranked in the top 10 during the season. The Eagles first round game was defending ACCA runner up Rhema Bible. Faith needed overtime again, but got the job done, advancing to the semi final against top seeded Dallas Christian College. In the semi final, the Eagles played well throughout, controlling the pace and frustrating Dallas to pull the upset and advance to the championship against Arlington Baptist College. Arlington's fast paced pressurse style of play ultimately was too much for the Eagles, as Faith fell in the championship and finished as the national runner up.
A record setting season led to an award winning season for both the team and individuals. As a team, in addition to the conference regular season and tournament championships, the Eagles were selected by the conference teams as the recipients of the conference Sportsmanship Award. Individual All Conference selections included Cody Chaffin (HM), Jon Luke Talton (2nd), Josh Bray (1st), and Aaron Leistikow (1st). Eagle men recognized as All Region were Ryan Kupferschmid (HM), Jon Luke Talton (2nd), Josh Bray (1st), and Aaron Leistikow (1st). ACCA All Americans included Ryan Kupferschmid (HM), Jon Luke Talton (2nd), Josh Bray (1st), and Aaron Leistikow (1st). Leistikow also received NCCAA II 2nd Team All American recognition.
"It has been a truly exceptional year. Going into the season, we knew the Lord had blessed us with a talented group of young men, but we didn't know all that would entail. It was a pleasure to see the men grow closer together, see them choose to sacrifice individual accomplishments for the team, and to see the Lord bless as a result. It has been and will always be an honor to have had the privilege of coaching this team," noted coach Fincham.
Captains Eric Young and Jon Rocha finished out their final season of competition for the Eagles. Both men showed great leadership throughout the season and have shown great growth, both athletically and spiritually, during their time as men's basketball participants. With the other 10 men eligible to return next season, the Eagles have set a foundation for championship basketball. Should the Lord lead them all back to Faith next year, the possibility is there to compete at the next level again in the 2015-2016 season.