JOHNS ISLAND - Porter-Gaud stormed back from a 14-point halftime deficit to beat First Baptist, 46-39, Monday afternoon and win the Harbor Division of the third annual Carolina Invitational girls basketball tournament.
First Baptist took a commanding 24-10 halftime lead at St. John's High School, but Porter-Gaud dominated the second half, outscoring the Hurricanes 20-5 in the final eight minutes.
Porter-Gaud coach Kent Martin, whose team will play First Baptist two more times in region games this season, said he hopes the Cyclones won't take as long to get going the next time they face the Hurricanes.
"There was a big difference between the first and second halves," said Martin, whose team improved to 10-1. "We had a great effort in the second half. In the first half, First Baptist battled and controlled the game, came up with the loose balls. In the second half, we went after the loose balls, got some momentum and started to believe in ourselves again."
Beau Faith led Porter-Gaud with 16 points and sophomore Garris Grant added 10 points. Lillian Saul was the sparkplug late in the game, scoring all nine of her points in the final eight minutes.
Faith scored a basket at the 3:34 mark in the fourth quarter to cut the Hurricanes' lead to 38-36. Grant tied the game 23 seconds later. Saul gave Porter-Gaud a 41-38 lead with a 3-point shot with 2:18 to go. Grant scored from inside to make it 43-38 with 1:39 left in the game.
"Faith hit a big couple of 3s and Saul is a senior who has been playing for us since the eighth grade," Martin said "She knew this was her last holiday tournament and wanted to do well."
First Baptist scored only one point in the final five minutes of the game. The Hurricanes made 1 of 6 free throws in the last 2:57 of the game.
"Free throws let us down," First Baptist coach Graham Haley said. "Usually, we've been strong from the foul line. We just couldn't convert. But I am proud of the way the girls battled. We started strong and just ran out of gas. We see these guys two more times, so we still have our chances. They always give us a battle and it seems like it always goes down to the wire."
McKala Rhodes and Jonai Grant both scored 10 for the Hurricanes, who fell to 8-4.
Porter-Gaud 5 5 16 20-46
First Baptist 13 11 10 5-39
Porter-Gaud (46): Saul 9, Allen 7, Faith 16, Grant 10, Mason 2, Freshley 2.
First Baptist (39): Tugwell 4, Peters 5, Rhodes 10, Grant 10, Planter 4, Booker 6.
Records: Porter-Gaud 10-1, First Baptist 8-4
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