Lady Eagles roll in round one

Published 1:13 pm Monday, December 10, 2012

ASKEWVILLE – The Bethel Assembly Christian Academy girls basketball team got things off to a hot start on their home floor this past weekend at the Eric Baggett Memorial Tournament; winning their opening round game 60-10 over Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School.

The annual event, named for the late BACA two-sport star who died tragically in 2010 was being held for the second consecutive year.

Three Lady Eagles scored in double-figures led by Kristen Adams with 15 points, nine scored in the second half. Teammates Kelsie Conner and Jessica Howerton scored 14 each.

“They (Haliwa-Saponi) are a young school and this is just their second year of competition,” said Eagles’ coach Ashley Byrum. “They were willing to come here and fill our tournament and we’re happy to have them.

“This was the kind of game we could feel secure,” he added. “That allowed us to do pretty much anything.”

The first thing Bethel did was race out to an early lead, getting the first dozen points of the game before the Lady Bucks even got on the board.  Adams opened things with the game’s first basket, a short jump shot.

Howerton easily ruled the lane and got six of those first 12 points.  Using her 6’-1” height to her team’s advantage she got a pair of low-post layups and a pair of free throws.

Meanwhile, Conner and Alyssa Fairless picked up the Eagles’ perimeter game, knocking down a jump shot each.

After the Bucks broke through with a three-pointer, Bethel went on to score eight of the game’s next 10 points enroute to a 20–5 lead after just one quarter.

Only a steal and layup by the Lady Bucks prevented Bethel from posting a second quarter shutout. The Lady Eagles spread the floor and wore down their opponents with their crisp passing game. It led to open jump shots and easy back-door layups.

Conner and Howerton collected eight points each for the entire first half while Heather Farmer had seven, including a long three-pointer just before the half-time horn sounded.

Bethel led 33-7 at the break.

The shutout quarter for the host team would come in the third. Howerton and Conner got all but two of Bethel’s first dozen points again.

The Eagles had their second-best eight minutes of the afternoon, scoring 19 points and once again ending the quarter on a three-point field goal; this time on a long bank shot drained by Adams.

Even though his bench was thin, Byrum managed to allow all members of his team to gain quality playing time with his fourth senior, Taylor Thomas, getting the Lady Eagles’ final basket on a jump shot that teased the rim.

Haliwa-Saponi made it to double-figures as their leading scorer, Jaylin Richardson, banked in a three-point shot that gave the Lady Bucks 10 on the evening.

“I knew we were over-matched,” said Haliwa-Saponi coach Ron Richardson. “The girls played with heart and I told them to use this as a learning moment.”

Bethel advanced to the championship game on Saturday where they faced T.E.A.C.H. of Washington, who won their first round game with an upset of Ocracoke, 47-24.