The United Faith boys' basketball program has established itself among the state's elite in the past two seasons.
The Falcons not only have taken back-to-back NCISAA 1A state championships but also won 62 games in that time.
This year, United Faith (17-5), ranked No. 37 in the Powerade Fab 50 ESPN Rise Boys Basketball Rankings, is proving it is still on top despite battling injuries most of the season.
"We expect to win, to be one of the best teams," said coach Shaun Wiseman, who has played without two or three starters for most of the season. "Every season has a different story and journey to it. You have to be able to adjust and play with the guys you have."
One of the Falcons' main obstacles, at least in Southern Piedmont Athletic Association play, will be Davidson Day.
The Patriots, who have won 20-plus games in each of the last two seasons, are building their program in a fashion similar to the Falcons but will have to prove it on the court, after being swept by United Faith last year (in three games) by an average of more than 20 points per game.
"Right now, I don't think we are quite on their level," Davidson Day coach Ron Johnson said. "But we won't be intimidated by their talent. We feel like we can play with them."
United Faith Christian
Despite a litany of injuries in the frontcourt early this season, Paris Roberts-Campbell and Braxton Ogbueze are quickly becoming one of the better backcourts in the state.
Campbell (24 ppg) and Ogbueze (17 ppg) will have carry the team and the scoring load until players like 7-foot-tall Peter Jurkin (Indiana commit) and John Edwards (6-feet-6) return later this month.
In the meantime, 6-foot-10 Henry Uwadie and 7-foot-1 Bradley Fisher will be counted on to step in immediately.
The Falcons' standards are to win every game and that won't change because of injuries.
Expect United Faith to win with a more guard-oriented offense for the next month, until it hopes to be able to put all the pieces together for another potential state championship run.
For now, the Falcons look to keep their stranglehold on the Southern Piedmont. While Davidson Day is their top obstacle, the Falcons are still the top team and will prove it by pulling away in the second half.
Like United Faith, Davidson Day has battled injuries early.
The Patriots are still trying to adjust to life with guard Keith Belfield, who recently returned from tendinitis, and without power forward Phillip Anglade, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
All of this puts even more pressure on forward Bernard Sullivan (Clemson signee) to dominate and control the boards inside. Sullivan will look for help from the trio of Dorian Albritton, Richard Brown and Jason Eddie.
Meanwhile, Belfield (Furman signee) and junior point guard Rashun Davis should form one of the better backcourts in the conference once they get comfortable playing together.
Davidson Day will be a major factor in the Southern Piedmont conference and the state tournament. How well they play against United Faith will go a long way in telling just how good they are right now.