MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It was this time last year the Eagles were planning on going dancing, until COVID-19 pulled the plug on their Cinderella season.
Once again, the team is readying to make a statement in the NAIA National Championship, and they aren’t focusing on the past.
“It was such a negative downer last year, and we had such a really good team last year. We have another really good team this year, and we’re just kind of looking forward to what’s fixing to happen here this weekend,” said Faulkner head coach Scott Sanderson.
No. 7 Faulkner is fresh off a Southern States Athletic Conference championship, and keeping that same mentality heading into nationals.
“It’s been outstanding,” said guard CJ Williamson. “We know it’s a new, 0-0 five-game season, and it starts now.”
“We just talk about improving every day through each individual guy,” Sanderson added. “I don’t need anyone to be superman or anything, just get a little bit better each day, and we’ve done that. I don’t know how we’ll play on Saturday night, but if we play like we’ve practiced, I’ll be fine.”
The team will have the added benefit of hosting the first round – one of the few positives of COVID-19.
“We have a tendency to win a lot here, which is always an advantage to us,” said Sanderson. “We’re shooting on our same goals, we’re sleeping in our same beds, we pretty much have our same routine, so I think it’s an advantage for us. If it’s not, I’m looking at it as an advantage for us.”
“We shoot better at home. I think all teams do, but that helps,” added Williamson. “With home court advantage, we’ve got a great student section, good fans and a lot of our families get to come since it’s so close to home.”
Faulkner will play the winner of Tennessee Wesleyan and Warner on Saturday. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. in Tine Davis Gymnasium.