Raider pressure sweeps Crusaders

Published 9:20 pm Saturday, January 3, 2009

COURTLAND – A 23-2 run in the third period by Southampton Academy was the turning point on Friday night as the Raiders turned away what, at least for a half, looked like a promising chance for First Baptist to get its first boys basketball win of the season. Southampton Academy led by two at the half, but went on to a 76-58 victory.

The Crusaders, in their first season playing a varsity schedule, trailed 27-25 at halftime and led 30-27 a couple minutes into the second half with a three-pointer by Wesley Hughes giving First Baptist the lead.

Foul trouble, with the Crusaders going for the most part with only six players, then Southampton Academy turning up the aggression on its full court press, swung the game in the Raiders’ favor in a hurry.

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Three minutes into the second half, shortly after the Crusaders had taken back the lead in what had been a back and forth contest, Hughes picked up his fourth foul and First Baptist’s leading scorer, 6-foot-4 junior Pete Twisdale, got his third foul. Those two Crusaders joined two other starters already with three fouls.

With a combination of Raider steals and the Crusaders having to let Raider players go half-contested on fast breaks or drives to the basket because of the foul trouble, Southampton Academy turned the game into a rout by the end of the third period.

The Raiders scored 30 points in the quarter, all in the last six minutes, and led 57-38 going to the fourth quarter. Wade Martin scored 12 points in the run.

Early in the game, the Raiders put a box-and-one defense, with man-to-man by SA’s Cameron Ray shadowing Twisdale.

The Crusaders dealt with the trick defense well. D.J. Daniels, with two threes, and Matthew Lilly hit three-pointers for First Baptist’s first nine points of the game. The Raiders led 14-13 after a quarter.

Center Aaron Cockrell led the Crusaders with eight points in the first half. Cockrell’s three-point play, with the basket coming from the left block, tied the score with 2:20 left in the half. Southampton Academy, led by John Hinkle’s eight points, regained a 27-25 lead at the half.

Following the big third quarter by the Raiders, the game returned to an even affair. Twisdale, after being held to four points in the first half, still worked his way to his usual scoring.

A three-point play by Twisdale with 2:39 left cut the Raider lead to 69-56. That was as close as the Crusaders got however. Seconds later, Cockrell, who had 14 points and 13 rebounds, fouled out.

Twisdale finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Daniels had 11 points. First Baptist’s main substitute, John Rountree, added 11 rebounds.

For Southampton Academy, Tyler Lass had 23 points, 19 rebounds and six assists. Lass was the main reason Twisdale, Hughes and Cockrell wound up in foul trouble and the 6-foot-4 forward crashed the boards, drove off the dribble and played a major role in the Raider full-court trapping.

Martin finished with 18 points. Blake Drewry and Hinkle had 15 points each.

In the girls’ game, which followed the boys’ contest at Southampton Academy on Friday night, Southampton Academy was too quick for First Baptist throughout the first half and the Lady Raiders took a 70-27 win.

First Baptist, winners of three of their last four games, were hurried by Southampton Academy’s full-court press at every step in the first half. Southampton Academy forced 29 turnovers and had a 53-8 halftime lead.

Making matters tougher for the Lady Crusaders was some of the same problem First Baptist’s boys team faced. First Baptist’s top scorer, Becca Ballance, who made the only two field goals First Baptist got in the first period, had three fouls by the first part of the second quarter.

With the press taken off, First Baptist outscored the Lady Raiders 19-17 in the second half.

Ballance, most impressively, didn’t foul out despite playing the whole second half with four fouls, and finished with a team-high 11 points. Meredith Overton had seven points and five steals. Victoria Carr had 10 rebounds.

For Southampton Academy, Lindsay Raulston had 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals, all in the first half. Catherine Glover led SA with 20 points.