Gator defense halts First Baptist

Published 10:12 pm Monday, January 31, 2011

First Baptist’s Morgan Overton passes to teammate Megan Farmer on a Lady Crusader fast break against Greenbrier Christian Monday evening. Overton led the Lady Crusaders with 13 points but the host Lady Gators won 58-44.

CHESAPEAKE — First Baptist’s girls basketball hung tough in its search for its first-ever victory over a Tidewater Conference of Independent School team but Greenbrier Christian kept the pressure on the Lady Crusaders for a 58-44 win Monday evening.

Greenbrier Christian specifically put the pressure on the Lady Crusaders for the last three quarters on Monday’s contest and that proved to be the turning point.

The Lady Crusaders, the defending season champs of the Seven Cities Athletic Conference, have played the Lady Gators and Nansemond-Suffolk during their now four years of varsity hoops. Monday’s game at Greenbrier had moments where a breakthrough was possible. The opening quarter, played at a more controlled tempo, suited First Baptist perfectly.

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Victoria Carr scored two buckets out of three Lady Crusader field goals in a 1:05 span to shoot First Baptist out to a 6-0 lead.

Meredith Overton drained a three-pointer from a wing to boost First Baptist’s lead to 11-7 late in the period. In the closing seconds Carr got a steal at the defensive end and Morgan Overton caught a long football pass then turned it into a turnaround jumper in the lane for a 13-7 Lady Crusader lead at the end of the quarter.

The hosts changed their defensive style after the opening eight minutes and quickly gained a 15-13 lead 1:30 into the second period.

First Baptist had trouble whenever Greenbrier could set its full-court press, meaning one Lady Gator hoop often turned into two or four more GC points in a hurry.

One such stretch in the last minute of the half saw the Lady Gator lead go from 21-17 to 28-17 with the ball staying on one side of midcourt throughout.

As the game sped up, fouls picked up for First Baptist. Carr missed much of the first half after getting her third foul.

The Lady Crusaders handled the press better after talking about it at halftime. Morgan Overton and Carr had success attacking the press and attacking the basket.

Megan Farmer scored after fighting to grab an offensive rebound, cutting the Lady Gator lead to 37-28 with 2:07 left in the third.

First Baptist got the margin into single digits again a minute later with Meredith Overton’s jumper after Carr came up with a steal.

With just over six minutes to play Morgan Overton’s jumper capped a possession in which First Baptist worked to get five shots at the basket and drew First Baptist within 43-35.

The Lady Gators scored the next seven points and didn’t allow First Baptist to get that close again.

Lady Gator junior center Laura Brunner finished with 13 points and 23 rebounds.

Morgan Overton led the Lady Crusaders with 13 points to go with six rebounds and four assists. Carr had 12 points and 14 rebounds. Amber Balance had 13 boards and four blocks. Meredith Overton added seven points.

Both Overtons, the starting backcourt for First Baptist, finished with four fouls. Farmer, who had six points and nine rebounds, fouled out with three minutes to play.

The Lady Crusaders return to conference play with a trip to Gateway Christian in Virginia Beach Friday evening.