Lady Crusaders storm ahead in second half

Published 8:57 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2010

VIRGINIA BEACH – First Baptist outscored BEACH 33-13 in the last 12 minutes of play Tuesday night to turn a close ballgame into a runaway 60-43 victory. In their third season as a varsity squad, the Lady Crusaders are closing in on a winning season with a 9-7 record and six games left in their regular season.

While every other high school sporting event over the last few days has been postponed, the Lady Crusaders wound up very happy to travel across Hampton Roads to Coastal Christian Academy. First Baptist head coach Kelli Overton was as excited with the outcome as any of her players.

“The coolest thing is, when you’ve been with a team for three years and every now and then the lights come on,” Overton said.

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First Baptist foiled BEACH’s Senior Night mainly with a full-court press that forced most of BEACH’s 40 turnovers on the night. BEACH forms athletic teams for home-schooled kids from grade school through varsity-level teams. The organization honored eight seniors in basketball and other sports Tuesday evening.

The Lady Crusaders were getting steals with their press right from the opening tip. In the opening minutes, Victoria Carr, Morgan Overton and Becca Ballance each turned steals into fast-break baskets and First Baptist led 7-2.

First Baptist’s shooting went cold for much of the rest of the first half and BEACH got back into the game. Meredith Overton made a 17-foot jumper to give the Lady Crusaders a 17-16 lead with 2:09 left in the half.

Carr turned a steal into a lay-up with 0:52 left to put First Baptist up 20-18. The Lady Crusaders led 22-21 at halftime.

The contest continued swinging back and forth and BEACH led 30-27 as the clock ticked toward four minutes left in the third period.

Suddenly, the Lady Crusader offense found its rhythm as Meredith Overton drained a three-pointer, First Baptist’s first of the game, from the left corner to tie the game. Overton had struggled on her long jump shots up until this point, but one shot sparked the whole team.

Carr followed with a foul-line jumper to put First Baptist up by a bucket. Meredith Overton made a three-pointer from the top of the key and Carr picked off another BEACH pass in the backcourt and went in for a lay-up to put First Baptist up 37-32.

Meredith Overton scored the first eight Lady Crusader points of the fourth period. On two of those possessions, the Lady Crusaders did a good job passing the ball around the perimeter, then finding Overton open against BEACH’s zone defense.

Ballance finished a break down court with a 15-foot jumper and Carr turned another steal into a lay-up, boosting First Baptist’s lead to 49-37.

Even with a BEACH timeout after Carr’s basket, First Baptist scored eight more unanswered points to take a 57-37 lead and the last four minutes were largely academic.

“The press is something we’ve worked on all year. At halftime, we talked about what we were doing and how it’s exactly like what we practice every day, then there was an amazing turnaround,” Overton said.

“I could say something about each of them,” Overton said, “Morgan (Overton) and Hannah (Bradshaw) were awesome on defense for us.”

Meredith Overton scored 18 points, with 14 coming in the second half. Carr had 16 points and six steals. Ballance had 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven steals.

Megan Farmer, First Baptist’s main substitute, finished with eight points and seven rebounds. Morgan Overton had five steals, five rebounds and four assists. Bradshaw had five steals and four rebounds.

First Baptist is scheduled to play at StoneBridge Thursday at 7 p.m.