First Baptist falls in final

Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Taking the shot: First Baptist’s Allie Brown dribbles against Gateway Christian’s defense in the final of the Seven Cities Athletic Conference Tournament Tuesday night at Liberty Baptist Church. Gateway completed an undefeated conference season with a 44-32 victory. The Lady Crusaders finished second in the seven-school league in the regular season and the tournament.

Virginia Beach’s Gateway Christian completed an undefeated season through the Seven Cities Athletic Conference with a 44-32 win against First Baptist in the conference’s girls basketball tournament final Tuesday evening at Liberty Baptist Church.

The Lady Crusaders finished runner-up to Gateway in the regular season and the season-ending tournament for the two-year-old conference played out the same way. First Baptist kept the championship contest close until late in the third period when Gateway’s pressing defense finally took too much of a toll, taking a 25-19 Gateway lead up to a 37-23 lead by the end of the third period.

Gateway’s full-court defense almost made the game lopsided right from the start. Gateway, also the Lady Crusaders, jumped out to an 8-2 lead.

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First Baptist answered by turning the attack on Gateway’s pressing. Victoria Carr caught a long inbounds pass, over most of the Gateway defense, and broke in for a lay-up. Carr followed that up by getting a rebound on the defensive end, starting a fast break and scoring after grabbing an offensive rebound, getting First Baptist back within 8-6.

Morgan Overton’s steal and breakaway lay-up again moved First Baptist within a hoop, 14-12, early in the second period.

Gateway led 21-16 at halftime. First Baptist trailed, but was within striking distance, until foul trouble played a big role.

Megan Farmer, a starting forward and usually First Baptist’s best rebounder, picked up her fourth foul with 4:58 to play in the third period. Morgan Overton was called for her fourth foul at the 4:20 mark. Those eight fouls came from only 10 total on the Lady Crusaders to that point.

Gateway built a healthy lead going to the fourth period. Farmer fouled out with 5:55 remaining and Morgan Overton fouled out with 4:37 left and Gateway ahead 41-25.

A short First Baptist rally made the last couple minutes interesting. While down by 14, Allie Brown made 1-of-2 free throws. Amber Ballance rebounded Brown’s miss and scored in the lane.

Another First Baptist hoop a couple possessions later cut Gateway’s lead to 42-32. First Baptist had the ball and called a timeout with 1:29 left, looking to cut the lead more, but Gateway held First Baptist scoreless the rest of the way.

Carr led First Baptist with 10 points, 15 rebounds and seven steals. Meredith Overton had five points and four assists.

First Baptist’s Carr and Morgan Overton earned first-team All-Seven Cities Athletic Conference honors for the season. Meredith Overton made second-team all-conference.

Gateway was led by guard Dominique Jean who had seven points, six steals, four rebounds and three assists.

Jean’s all-around play earned her Tournament MVP honors. Gateway forward Elizabeth Webster, who totaled 12 points and 10 rebounds in the final, was the conference Player of the Year.