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Lady Eagles tame TEACH

ASKEWVILLE – ‘Tis the season to be jolly.

And with a 9-2 record, the Bethel Christian Academy girl’s basketball team has plenty to go caroling over.

The Lady Eagles picked up their ninth win Friday night, 47-37, over TEACH of Washington and sent the Lady Trailblazers to their first loss of the season.

Elizabeth Farmer led all scorers with 19 points for Bethel while Jessica Howerton had 13 and Charitee Dunlow scored eight. Alyssa Fairless added four points while Kelsie Conner had three.

“We were a little short-handed tonight,” said a smiling coach Ashley Byrum.  “One of our starters (Kristen Adams) wasn’t here and another one got hurt, but the subs did a good job, they really came through for us.”

The evening didn’t start well for the Lady Eagles as TEACH took an early 4-0 lead before Farmer got a layup to put Bethel on the board.

The score was 6-2 when Dunlow hit a long jumper and Farmer followed with an even longer jumper, this one of the three-point variety, to stake Bethel to its first lead of the night, 7-6, five minutes into the game.

Bethel went on to outscore TEACH, 8-2, the rest of the quarter. Howerton, harassed by a collapsing zone defense for most of the night, got a put-back to begin the run and Farmer got a jump shot off underneath the basket.

TEACH scored on a layup to cut it to 11-8 before Howerton got another put-back and Fairless closed out the quarter with a short jump shot near the top of the circle and give the home team the a 15-8 advantage after one quarter of play.

The two teams played evenly in the second quarter, neither able to really establish a run.  Howerton collected four of Bethel’s eight points for the quarter with layups off the glass underneath.  Conner added a layup inside the paint and the Lady Eagles got their other two points off free-throws.

Bethel led it, 23-14, at halftime.

TEACH was able to claw away at their deficit in the third quarter, outscoring the home team, 12-8. Dunlow and Farmer picked up early fouls in the quarter and Byrum had to slow it down and spread the game out.

Bethel took their largest lead of the night, by a dozen, when Howerton sank a pair of foul shots to make it ,27-15. But on the next play, TEACH scored to reduce it to a 10-point margin and Farmer picked up her third foul.

That’s when the bench came through.

After an opponent free throw, Dunlow hit a baseline jump shot to make it 29-18. Bethel then went to a collapsing defense that produced TEACH misses on drives to the basket and were able to snare a couple of key rebounds.

Bethel only got a pair of Howerton free throws the rest of the way, but thanks to their lead and their defense they were able to hold off the Lady Blazers and stay in front by five, 31-26, heading into the final quarter.

Howerton was fouled early in the quarter and made 1-of-2 free throws and for the next two minutes Bethel marched to the free throw line, but didn’t take advantage; making just 1-of-5 at the charity stripe.

Bethel led by seven, 35-28, when the Lady Eagles found their shooting range again.  Dunlow and Conner hit a pair of long jump shots to push the lead to 11.

TEACH scored the next four before Farmer got a jump shot in the paint to fall for Bethel’s last field goal of the night.  Additionally, their foul-shooting woes returned as they made just 2-of-6 the next two minutes.

With under two minutes to go, Howerton went down with an injury, but was forced to sit out the remainder of the game.  Farmer accounted for all the scoring, making four of six foul shots that allowed Bethel to equal their biggest lead at 12, 46-34, before the game was settled at the free-throw line.

“Taylor Thomas came in and did a good job tonight, though she doesn’t play that much,” said Byrum, “and I was really proud of Alyssa’s effort.”

“Number-50 (Farmer) is our motor out there,” he added. “She really kept everything going forward.

“It was a good game,” he concluded.  “We’ve really had a good season so far.”

And that’s something to sing about.