Patriots sweep First Baptist

Published 7:05 pm Saturday, December 5, 2009

PORTSMOUTH – In First Baptist’s third season of varsity basketball on the girls side and second season with a varsity boys team, it’s easy to see the progress that’s being made.

Earlier this week, the Lady Crusaders were the older and stronger team in winning their first contest of the season. The Crusaders moved to 2-0 on the young season on Tuesday.

One area where progress has been tougher to come by is in games against larger schools from more-established conferences, such as at Portsmouth Christian on Thursday evening.

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Against the Patriots, from the Metro Conference, First Baptist scraped and hustled to stay within shouting distance in the girls game until a 14-0 Lady Patriot run in the fourth quarter led to a 46-33 PC win.

In the late game, Portsmouth Christian was too quick and too strong, especially with its full-court press. The Patriots took a big lead early and cruised to a 77-45 win.

The girls game was rough and physical for most of the way with both sets of fans having reason to be upset on multiple occasions.

In the final seconds of the first period, First Baptist guard Morgan Overton went in to the basket on a fast-break, was a second or two late on her lay-up attempt, and was pushed into the padded wall only a few feet beyond the baseline. After staying down and needing a couple minutes to recover, Overton was able to continue.

PC led 17-4 early in the second quarter. With a couple Lady Patriot starters on the bench because of fouls, First Baptist got back within 21-11 late in the second period and was close to making a game of it heading into halftime. Instead, Portsmouth Christian got the last two baskets of the half and led 25-11.

Portsmouth Christian built its lead to 29-11 in the first minute of the third period, but the Lady Crusaders held Portsmouth Christian scoreless for more than six minutes and without a field goal for the rest of the period.

First Baptist worked back into the game largely thanks to center Becca Ballance. On the offensive end, First Baptist brought all five player up beyond the foul line, got the ball to Ballance at the foul line, or even the three-point line, and let Ballance play one-on-one to get a jump shot. Ballance’s 17-foot jumper on the right wing with 0:04 left made it 30-21 PC going to the fourth period.

The Lady Patriots regrouped and clamped down on defense. With a number of steals and breakaway lay-ups, PC took control with a 14-0 run in the first 4:15 of the last quarter.

Ballance finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Morgan Overton and Meredith Overton had five points each. Megan Farmer finished with 12 rebounds.

In the boys game, Portsmouth Christian had a 23-8 lead by the end of the first period. The Patriots went on to total 36 steals, mostly in the first half as the Patriot full-court, trapping press gave the Crusaders all sorts of problems.

Late in the first half, First Baptist senior Wes Hughes was ejected after being called for back-to-back technical fouls when he retaliated after being fouled by a Patriot player.

In the second half, mostly with Portsmouth Christian calling off the full-court press, the Crusaders did better on offense. First Baptist wound up winning the fourth period 14-10.

Senior Pete Twisdale led the Crusaders with 18 points, six rebounds, five blocks and four steals. Point guard Ben Joslin led FB with nine points in the first half and finished with 14 points.