LUDOWICI — Not many folks know about the other high school in Long County. With an enrollment of approximately 250 students, including 60 in high school, Faith Baptist Christian Academy is more like a tight extended family than a school.
But when it comes to sports, this little gem has amassed state titles in softball, baseball, soccer, football, volleyball and is currently chasing its seventh state basketball title.
It’s something athletic director and basketball coach Jared Sellars calls a blessing.
"We’ve been here and we’ve been doing it for a long time," he said. "We are honestly blessed."
Last Friday, Faith Baptist inched closer to another state title, dominating Shilo-Hills in their first playoff game, defeating them 90-42 at home.
The victory brings the Crusaders’ record to 21-5 overall and their Georgia Christian Athletic Association 2-AA Region record to 11-1, according to MaxPreps.com. They are currently on a 13-game winning streak and are 11-0 at home.
Sellars admits they had a rocky start this season.
"We struggled in the first 4-6 games this year," he said. "Then we picked up two players. We picked up Jaquez Motley (formerly of Urban Christian) and Tracey Jester (from Liberty County HS), and we are a whole different team now."
Motley is a 6’ sophomore who looks to be a highly recruited prospect for the class of 2011, according to Rivals.com.
On MaxPreps.com Motley is ranked 5th in the state for scoring an average 23.8 ppg. He is third in the state for assists, averaging 6.9 per game.
Sellars is quick to point out, although Motley and Jester helped the squad, he has other players who are key to their chances for state.
"We have Aaron Powers," he said. "He is a shooter for us. He was our leading scorer last year and averaged about 20 a game for us. He is a junior this year."
In Friday’s game, Sellars said Powers had about 14 points and several were from the three line.
"Early on in the season he wasn’t getting those open looks, we didn’t have anybody penetrating and kicking," Sellars said. "Now we have Jaquez doing that and he (Powers) is open and knocking them down. He hits about three or four 3 shots a game for us and he is our real key returner."
MaxPreps.com has Powers listed as third in the state for three-pointers, averaging 3 per game.
"I feel good about our chances this year," Sellars said. "We’ve won the last five in a row and we want this one bad. I feel real confident about next year because we have a strong group of players coming back. But I just want to get this one."
Sellars said they will lose three seniors next year, including Al Drake who hit double-doubles in the last few games, but Sellars added he has more talent coming back than he is losing.
The coach did credit the addition of Motley as helping their team get additional exposure.
"In the last three weeks I’ve gotten calls from about 5-6 Division I coaches, mainly about Jaquez, but at the same time several of these coaches have been to our practice," he said. "We took the whole team to Auburn. Everybody is getting the opportunity."
The coaching staff of Auburn recently arranged for the Faith Baptist squad to visit their campus and enjoy a college game. Motley met with Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo, who reportedly said Motley would be scouted throughout his high school career.
In the meantime the focus is on state ring number 7.
The Crusaders play at 5 p.m. at Killian Hill Christian in Lilburn on Friday for round two of the playoffs.