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First half does in Lady Crusaders

Atlantic Shores pressed and frustrated First Baptist’s girls basketball team for the first half of Monday’s game at Liberty Baptist Church and that was good enough for the Lady Seahawks to go on to a 54-37 win.

A couple weeks ago, against Tidewater Conference foe, and brand-new city rival Nansemond-Suffolk, a quicker foe from a larger conference gave First Baptist’s offense too much trouble. With Atlantic Shores of the Metro Conference, it was largely the same story.

Atlantic Shores got out to a 6-0 lead in the first 2:12. The Lady Crusaders seemed to find one answer for the Atlantic Shores full-court defense as long outlet passes to Victoria Carr let Carr break in for open lay-ups, but two buckets by Carr were all First Baptist managed in the opening period. Atlantic Shores ended the period on an 8-0 rally and led 17-4.

With Atlantic Shores getting steals and attacking the First Baptist basket through much of the first eight minutes, the Lady Crusaders also wound up with another big problem.

First Baptist’s leading scorer, senior Becca Ballance had three fouls by the end of the first quarter and was forced to the bench for all of the second quarter.

The Lady Crusaders seemed to find some momentum early in the second period with Megan Farmer and Caitlin Hankins scoring off of assists by Carr as First Baptist outnumbered Atlantic Shores after getting past midcourt. The two hoops made it 19-8 Atlantic Shores, but for the most part, the Lady Seahawk press continued to prevail. Atlantic Shores led 37-11 at halftime.

In the second half, Atlantic Shores called off the press a couple minutes into the half. The teams played to an 8-8 tie in the third period.

In the fourth period, it was the Lady Crusaders who picked up the intensity. Having Ballance back on the court and in the lane helped, too.

Ballance scored all 14 of her points in the second half and 10 in the fourth quarter. Morgan Overton and Carr came up with repeated steals that led to Lady Crusader points. First Baptist won the last four minutes 10-2, with six points by Ballance and four by Carr, to cut the margin under 20.

Ballance finished with 20 rebounds, 15 of them coming in the second half. Carr had 11 points and five steals. Overton had six rebounds, five steals and three assists.

First Baptist (5-8) hosts Virginia Beach Friends Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The boys varsity game follows at 7 p.m. Both Crusader teams won lopsided games earlier this season against Virginia Beach Friends.