When preparing for First Baptist Academy, most teams game plan to stop the Lions' super sophomore, Emily Lines. And rightly so. The 6-foot Lines is averaging more than 18 points per game this season.
But on Wednesday night in the last game of the opening round of the Naples Holiday Shootout presented by Arthrex, it was FBA senior Alli Emerson who played like a star.
The 5-foot-9 guard scored 18 points to lead First Baptist over Barron Collier 48-37 in a matchup featuring the only two Collier County schools in the tournament.
The Lions (11-3) led just 27-19 at the half. It was Emerson, who scored the first six points in the third, that helped extend FBA's lead to 17 by the end of the quarter.
"I wasn't one bit surprised by Alli's performance," FBA coach Jennifer Lines said. "To play in this tournament means a lot to her. She steps up in big games all the time for us. You saw that tonight in every aspect of her game."
Emerson came in averaging just over nine points a game. She had a season high 19 on Dec. 14 in a win over Southwest Florida Christian. Emerson, who has not decided on a college, said a few schools are looking at her.
As a seventh-grader, Emerson was a member of FBA's first varsity squad in 2007.
"Alli helped build this program," Lines said. "She has been at every team function, fundraiser, and practice we have ever had. (This win) is a reflection of what these guys started in the seventh grade."
Besides her point production on Wednesday, Emerson also handled the ball for the Lions and hauled in nine rebounds. She said when Barron closed to within eight at halftime, she urged her teammates to keep their eyes on the ball.
"I told them at half not to focus on the crowd," Emerson said. "We play for an audience of one. This is an honor to play in this tournament. We want to earn respect."
Emily Lines added 16 points for FBA, while teammate Naomi Reed had seven.
Except for a Elizah Pagkanlungan free throw and layup, all of Barron's points came on 3-pointers in the fourth quarter for the Cougars (9-7).
"We didn't come to play," Barron coach Mike Hamburg said. "We had great effort in the last four minutes. It was my job to tell the kids we started 25 minutes earlier."
FIRST BAPTIST (48)
Mosbach 2 0-1 5, Foreman 0 0-0 0, Lines 6 4-4 16, Messen 0 0-0 0, Reed 3 1-2 7, Cox 1 0-0 2, Emerson 7 2-8 18. Totals 19 7-15 48
BARRON COLLIER (37)
Pagkanlungen 3 2-4 9, Davis.Jakia 2 0-2 4, Davis.Jakella 1 0-0 2, Denti 2 4-4 8, Gorton 1 0-0 3, Frost 1 1-2 3, Ferucci 0 1-3 1, Sommers 1 0-0 3, Langham 1 0-0 3, Lozada 1 0-0 3. Totals 12 8-16 37
FBA 14 13 15 6 —48
BC 4 15 6 12 —37
3-pointers: FBA— Mosbach, Emerson 2; BC— Pagkanlungen, Gorton, Frost, Sommers, Langham; Team fouls: FBA 17, BC 17; Fouled out: None; Technicals: None