First Baptist shows improvement

Published 10:15 pm Thursday, January 10, 2013

First Baptist Christian faced conference rival Yeshivas Aish Kodesh for the second time this season and registered marked improvement despite losing 59-38 on Wednesday night at home.

The Crusaders are still in search of their first win this season, but head coach Ron Carr is closely tracking areas in which his team has grown, including closing the gap against an opponent that beat them by 33 earlier in the season.

First Baptist Christian senior guard Nathan VanDorn goes up to shoot against Yeshivas Aish Kodesh on Thursday night. The Crusaders lost 59-38 to the visitors from Norfolk. VanDorn led FBC with 12 points.

“This was actually a very good game for our guys,” he said. “They came out tonight like we encourage them to come out every day. They came out with 100 percent attitude, play as a team, do their best.”

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FBC jumped out to an 8-0 lead within the first two minutes of the game, fueled by a couple baskets from senior guard Nathan VanDorn.

“On a team this good, to break out and get eight to 10 points off the bat, I’m extremely proud of them,” Carr said. “They’re coming along late in the season.”

Yeshivas Aish Kodesh quickly recovered, however, and as the game progressed, over-exuberance turned out to be a problem for the home team.

“Sometimes when they start that way, you have to bring them back in and call a timeout, settle them down,” Carr said.

“When we hear the fans going, we get going and that’s also one of our weaknesses,” VanDorn said. “We get too into it, and that’s why we fell apart.”

The Crusaders trailed 13-10 after the first period and then after the teams traded runs in the second quarter, YAK began to distance itself with a 32-19 halftime lead.

Rushed and ill-advised passes were frequently FBC’s downfall. Carr saw it as an issue of confidence.

“We have guards, but the problem we have is that when they handle the ball, they get a little over-anxious, and we’re trying to get them to settle down and take that moment, pass the ball, work it effectively,” he said. “You don’t have to get the ball and drive it automatically. Just pass the ball around, get confident, set the play up.”

VanDorn, who led the Crusaders with 12 points, felt positive about the game, and also credited YAK’s ability.

“I think we played well, very well,” he said. “The problem with (Yeshivas Aish Kodesh) is they’re good at anticipating the ball and the score did not reflect how we played at all.”

He pointed out FBC’s improved defense against YAK and one of its stars, sophomore Michael Brooke.

“We limited them a lot better,” he said. “Last time (Brooke) had 27 points, tonight I don’t think he hit that mark.”

Brooke ended up with 17 points and seven rebounds, but he was everywhere on defense with 13 steals.

FBC sophomore guard Nathan Leiter had 10 points, freshman forward Steven Effler had seven and senior center Clint Byrd chipped in six.

In the midst of a winless season, Coach Carr describes the mentality that he tries to foster on his team.

“Go at it with all you got,” he said. “You can’t look back. When you get my age and I played sports, I realized maybe I didn’t give all I had. And I’m trying to encourage them, ‘Look, don’t look back and have regrets. Give it all you got now.’ It’s like I’ve learned, once you give 110 percent whether you win or lose by points, if you’re confident that you’ve done your best, you can go home and rest. And that’s what we coach.”

First Baptist Christian (0-10, 0-6) hosts Ryan Academy tonight.