Crusaders now on top of hoop routs

Published 3:37 pm Friday, January 8, 2010

It wasn’t long ago that First Baptist Christian School’s basketball teams were too young to compete with, let alone defeat, some of the teams on their schedules.

Now, in the third season of the Crusaders playing varsity-level basketball, both First Baptist teams have winning records after Thursday night’s easy wins over Sweethaven at Liberty Baptist Church.

The Lady Crusaders won their third straight game to go to a 5-3 record, winning 62-8. The Crusaders improved to 5-4 with a 71-20 win. Both Crusader teams won by similar margins Tuesday at Virginia Beach Friends with the Lady Crusaders winning 63-17 and the Crusaders winning 71-32.

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In the girls game Thursday evening, the Lady Crusaders attempted no three-point shots and no free throws for the game as they were able to get the ball inside at will.

First Baptist led 16-4 after one period and pitched a 16-0 shutout in the second quarter. Megan Farmer, Morgan Overton and Victoria Carr had six points each in the first half.

Carr wound up leading the Lady Crusaders with 12 points. Farmer, Overton, Hannah Bradshaw, Becca Ballance and Caitlin Hankins finished with eight points each. Amber Ballance had 13 rebounds and Hankins grabbed 12 boards.

The boys game was equally easy for the Crusaders as they ran out to a 22-1 lead in the first quarter. First Baptist’s second five of its 10-player roster played the last five or six minutes of all four periods.

Reserve forward Fitz Wheeler led the Crusaders with 10 points in the first half. Wheeler finished with a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds.

First Baptist’s usual top scorer, Pete Twisdale, scored 14 points in about 12 minutes of play.

Last season, as First Baptist won only three games, Twisdale was the leading scorer in practically every Crusader game. This year, as the Crusaders are deeper and more talented, Twisdale is still a key player, but he doesn’t need to score 30-plus points per game for the Crusaders to do well.

As Twisdale puts it, there were plenty of games last season he scored 30 or 40 points, “but we’d still lose. Now, other stats have risen for me and anyway, it’s worth it to have the wins.”

“It means a lot. We’ve never won more than three games in a season, so this is a great feeling,” Twisdale said.

“We’re much better now. We’re moving the ball well and we can score from everywhere,” Twisdale said.

There are still plenty of standout moments for Twisdale, most notably on Dec. 17 in a home game against Alliance Christian when Twisdale, a 6-foot-4 senior forward, surpassed 1,000 points in his Crusader career.

Twisdale broke the mark late in the fourth quarter of the game. The game was stopped and Twisdale was awarded a plaque and the game ball. The 1,000-point plateau and the gifts were very nice for sure, but the team’s accomplishments are really driving him.

Both First Baptist teams have circled this coming Monday on their schedules for awhile. The Crusaders will play at Nansemond-Suffolk in a doubleheader starting at 5:30 p.m. in what will be the first time First Baptist will take on their older, larger private school neighbor in any sport.