Lady Eagles fall in final

Published 2:01 pm Monday, December 10, 2012

ASKEWVILLE – Approach with caution.

On an afternoon when they shot less than 28 percent from the floor, the Bethel Assembly Christian Academy girls basketball team failed to defend their Eric Baggett Memorial Tournament championship.

The event, named for the late BACA two-sport star who died in 2010, concluded on Saturday with the Eastern Christian Home School (TEACH) taking the girls championship, 48-27.

Only four Lady Eagles players scored, led by Kelsie Conner with nine. Jessica Rowe led all scorers with 20 points for TEACH.

It’ll be a short time for the teams to either celebrate the win, or mourn the loss, because they’ll play each other again in a regularly scheduled North Carolina Christian-North Conference game tonight.

“Maybe they didn’t see how really good we can play,” said Bethel coach Ashley Byrum with a wink and a sly smile. “We play them Tuesday in our first conference game.”

The loss dropped Bethel’s record to 7-2 and spoiled the birthdays of player Jessica Howerton and assistant coach Denise Simmons.

TEACH scored the first seven points of the game before Heather Farmer got Bethel on the scoreboard. Kristen Adams scored next to make it a 7-4 game, but that was the closest the Lady Eagles came all afternoon.

The Lady Trailblazers scored three more points to close out the quarter with a 10-4 lead.

Poor shooting again plagued the host team in the second quarter as Conner finally got a baseline jump shot to fall with three minutes left until halftime.

It was Bethel’s only score of the second quarter while TEACH put up an even dozen and led it 22-6 at the break thanks to balanced scoring from their starting five.

TEACH opened the third quarter scoring the first nine points before Howerton got a put-back layup in the lane at the 3:42 mark  Two possessions later Farmer drained two foul shots to get Bethel to double-figures.

When Howerton scored again, TEACH called timeout to stem the six-point run only to see Howerton add three more when she was fouled on a low-post jump shot in the lane for a three-point play.

However, Rowe dropped two late jump shots for the ‘Blazers and TEACH went into the fourth quarter with a 20-point lead, 35-15.

The fourth was the most-evenly played of the entire contest.  Conner drove the baseline twice to score for Bethel; but on the other end TEACH dropped three straight three-point field goals to lead, 44-19.

Bethel doubled-up the ‘Blazers, outscoring them 8-4 to end the game; however, it was the Beaufort County girls that hoisted the championship hardware.

“All around team win,” said TEACH coach, Greg Rowe. “But we know it’ll be a different game on Tuesday so we just have to be ready to go.”

In other scores from the Baggett Tournament on Saturday, Ocracoke won the girls consolation game; while the Dolphin boys claimed the Boy’s Championship with a 69-42 Ocracoke win over Haliwa-Saponi.