ELKTON- The Tri-State Christian Academy Lady Crusaders hosted the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Girls Basketball Team for the Semi-Finals of the Mid-Atlantic Independent League Championship Playoffs on Thursday night.
The Girls on the FCA Team came to win as well and the first half of the game let everyone in attendance know this was going to be a contest. FCA was successful many times at stealing the ball away from Tri-State in the first half as FCA’s Lainey Johnson put up 10 of FCA’s 12 points in the first quarter. The Lady Crusaders also put up 12 points in the 1st Quarter of play but it was a group effort as five different players would score in the opening quarter.
The 2nd period would be a defensive battle and the Lady Crusaders focused their attention more on Johnson who had dominated the 1st Quarter for FCA.
“I told the girls to close out on her and contest her on each shot. We were over playing and we worked on that.” said Coach Bill Smith. “We were able to get looks down low due to the outside shooting from Hope (Pfadt) and Meme (Daniels).”
Coach Smith’s shift in tactics worked as the Lady Crusaders essentially neutralized Johnson for 2 quarters without her being able to add to FCA’s score. After ending the 1st quarter tied 12-12, both teams would go to the half time break with Tri-State only ahead by one point and the score 18-17.
At the half, Coach Smith needed to get his Lady Crusaders into the game. “I told them to settle down. Be confident in the game and their ability. Take open space and knock down shots.”
Hope Pdaft would lead the scoring in the 3rd quarter with two shots from the outside for 6 points. Jules Harris would add 4 points to the board and Meme Daniels would add 2. They held FCA to only 2 points in the 3rd quarter and started to play their game. At the end of three quarters the score was 30-19 with FCA starting to adjust.
In the fourth quarter Lainey Johnson made three baskets from the outside to put up 9 points and FCA was trying to make a charge at the end.
Tri-State’s Tessa Davis would be sent to the free throw line several times in the fourth quarter but her 75% average at the line kept Tri-State out in front.
Jules Harris led all Crusaders scoring with 11 points in the game followed by Hope Pfadt with 8 points, and Etta Harris with 7 points. Meme Daniels would contribute 5 points to the Crusaders tally, Ashlyn Criddle had 4points and Tessa Davis scored 3 points from the free throw line.
FCA scoring was dominated mostly by Lainey Johnson as she put up 19 points of the 31 total scored by FCA. Kenna Smith would contribute 5 points.
With the score 38-31 at the buzzer the Lady Crusaders punched their ticket to return to the Championship game and face county rival, The Tome School’s Lady Titans on Saturday in Chesapeake City at Bohemia Manor High School.