First Presbyterian Christian Academy doesn’t have far to travel to take on one of its toughest opponents and biggest rivals.
The same is true for Faith Baptist.
The basketball rivalry between FPCA and FBCA is a friendly one, but the intensity of the games would show otherwise.
That was the same story Tuesday in Ludowici, and when the dust settled, the Lady Highlanders eked out a 48-45 win, and the Crusader boys capitalized on some late turnovers to win 79-69.
The boys left it all out on the court, racing up and down the court in a run-and-gun game. FPCA led by three at the end of the first quarter and trailed by four at intermission.
In the third quarter, Faith Baptist built a 10-point cushion and held on to it when FPCA’s Herbert Roberts fouled out of the game in the fourth period. Crusader Jaquez Motley drew several fouls and made 18-of-19 shots from the free throw line. Motley led the Crusaders with 32 points, including two 3-pointers.
“I think they may have missed that call and it was critical,” Highlander coach Ernie Walthour said about the call that led to Roberts fouling out. “But the referee called it and that’s their job. They won the ball game. They have a good team. It’s a great rivalry and and we just lost the ball game. Our kids left everything on the floor. We played hard. This rivalry has been good for the last five to six years and we’ve been on the other end of it sometimes when they’ve lost to us, but they beat us this time and J.J. (Frazier) and Jaquez (Motley) played a real good game tonight.”
Frazier, who has led Faith Baptist in scoring for the past three games, scored 23 against the Highlanders, but Faith Baptist coach Matthew Sellars said he was impressed with the Highlanders’ ability to control his top player.
“I’m actually disappointed about tonight,” he said. “We should have played better. They boxed in one of my best players (J.J. Frazier) so we were running all over the place. I don’t like games like this because they are too emotional and the kids don’t play the way they are supposed to play. They are trying too hard to beat the guy down the road. However, it does prepare us because it’s good to have close games and we are trying to move up on a national level rather than just the state level.”
Crusader Kirk Hill scored nine of his 16 points from 3-point land to round out the Crusaders’ top scorers in the game.
Roberts scored 26 points before fouling out in the fourth. Ahman Muhammad chipped in 17 and Chris Guilfo scored all nine on 3-pointers.
Walthour said his squad did better than its first meeting against the Crusaders earlier this season.
“Sometimes you don’t come out on the winning end of the scoreboard but you get prepared for region games playing against competition like this,” he said. “It will be good for us and I was impressed by the way we ran our offense. It was a little better than we did against them the first time we played this team where they beat us by 20. We were right there, and then made a couple of turnovers late in the game … but I’m happy with our progress as we move toward the region schedule.”
Faith Baptist is 14-5 overall. The Highlanders are 2-8 overall.
In the girls’ game, the Lady Highlanders improved to 3-1 overall. Coach Rosby Fraiser said her girls came together to eke out the 48-45 win over Faith Baptist.
“The girls put it all out on the court,” she said. “T’era (Alston) led us with her ability to handle the ball. Aaliyah (Wilson) turned up her defense, and I’m very proud of Brooke (Standard). She gave us her all as always.”
Wilson paced the ’Landers
with 29 points in the game and Alston added 15.
The Lady ’Landers’ one loss to date was against Memorial Day. FPCA was scheduled to play Memorial on Thursday evening. Fraiser said there was one area she was concerned about.
“After what I saw tonight, we have to work on rebounds. We were out of position a lot,” she said. “But we are still playing together as a unit and that is all we can ask for.”
Faith Baptist had three scorers in the double digits. Reagan Jarrett finished with 22 points, Maggi Brannen had 11 and Samantha Brannen scored 10. The team’s record was not available.