Winning start for FBCS girls

Published 9:20 pm Wednesday, November 14, 2012

First Baptist Christian junior guard Hannah Fagan drives against the Victory Christian School defense during the Lady Crusaders’ 28-25 season-opening victory at home on Tuesday night. Fagan had 13 points and five steals, sparking a fourth-quarter charge on offense that led to the win.

Thanks in large part to a clutch performance from junior point guard Hannah Fagan, the First Baptist Christian varsity girls’ basketball team opened the season with a 28-25 home win over Victory Christian School on Tuesday night.

“I feel like our practice paid off,” Fagan said. “I wasn’t expecting that we were going to do as well as we did, so I’m really happy that we worked together, because that’s usually a problem for our school, but I feel like we did that tonight.”

Fagan led the Lady Crusaders with 13 points and five steals.

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With an 18-10 lead at halftime, First Baptist Christian had a rough third quarter, as the Eagles outscored the Lady Crusaders 9-4. FBC senior guard Janna Williams fouled out toward the end of the period as well, leaving Fagan without her longtime teammate and backcourt partner for the remainder of the game.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Fagan broke the Lady Crusaders’ scoring drought with a basket to make it 24-19. A couple minutes later, she passed to junior Jenny Rombs, who scored to extend the lead.

“I kind of just realized that we were starting to sink in, so I tried to get our team back up and just try to motivate everyone,” Fagan said.

At the 4:30 mark, Fagan put in another basket to make the score 28-19.

Victory Christian went to work, though, scoring off a couple free throws and a basket to move the Eagles within striking distance at 28-23. Shortly thereafter, a baseline drive by the Eagles’ Leah Maclin became the final score of the game. Maclin led her team with 16 points.

The Lady Crusaders had the ball multiple times during the waning minutes with opportunities to put the game away, but could not convert.

Victory Christian’s Lacey Carawan fired off a three-pointer with seconds remaining that was perfectly lined up, but short, and the Fagan-led fourth quarter push helped the Lady Crusaders hold on for the win.

“She had to step up and she, tonight, in that fourth quarter, was a leader,” Lady Crusaders head coach Kristy Patton said of Fagan. “She came in, and she did what she had to do.”

Sophomore Julia Jackson had a strong game with four points, four steals and three assists. Two girls that were key down low for FBC were junior Caitlin Hankins, who had 11 rebounds, and senior Brianna Longo, who had seven rebounds, four of them on offense.

Patton was pleased with the game, while also being conscious of needed improvement.

“I think it was a perfect Game One,” she said. “We ended with a win. We’ve got a lot we got to work on, we did a lot of things well that we have worked on in practice, but (the) first game is always something you got to work on, something you’re going to see that you hadn’t worked on.”

She saw this game as an opportunity for her team to learn about slowing things down and being calm at the end when holding the lead.

Patton noted that conditioning has been a necessary but unpopular activity among the girls during practice. With such a short off-season, she said, one of the team’s biggest fears allayed by this game was not yet having sufficient endurance for a full game.

“I think endurance-wise, we were pleased with ourselves,” Patton said. “They’re learning, and they’re seeing that hard work pays off, and that’s a lesson, whether you win or lose, that we want to teach them.”

Because Thursday’s game against Tabernacle of Prayer Christian has been postponed, the Lady Cavaliers will next play on the road against Alliance Christian School on Nov. 27.