FREEPORT — There will be no repeat as district champions for the Baker girls basketball team.
The Gators took on a tough Chipley team in the District 2-1A semifinals Thursday night and saw their dreams for a title come up short.
Jasmine Belser scored a game-high 27 points to lead the Tigers to a 65-59 win.
“They are a good ball club,” Baker coach Brian Wagner said of Chipley. “Our girls knew we were going to have to play our best basketball. With the exception of missing some easy ones we shot lights out from 3-point land, which is something we haven’t done all year long.
“We played like I knew we would play. We played extremely well. But in crucial moments you have to make those things happen and there were times that we did and there were times that we didn’t and that was the difference in the game.”
The Gators, who ended the season with a 16-7 record, got off to a fast start behind the hot shooting of Kathryn Quigg.
Quigg scored the first four points of the game and nine of her 16 points in the first quarter as the game was tied at 16-16 at the end of the first quarter.
Belser’s big night started innocently enough as she scored five points in the first quarter, but she was just getting cranked up as she scored 10 second-quarter points as Chipley took a 32-31 lead into the intermission.
Quigg continued to play well for the Gators adding five more points in the second quarter to increase her total to 14 points at the half. Cassidy Anderson also started to find her range for Baker in the second quarter as she scored six points in the period and Lily Phillips was good for four second-quarter points for the Gators.
Anderson and Bethany Chestnut led the Baker charge early in the third quarter.
Baker led 42-38 after a score by Anderson with 3:50 left in the third quarter. The Tigers then came roaring back closing out the third quarter with a 12-4 run behind play of Amanda Paschal and Ebony Williams to take a 50-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
A Chestnut basket 27 seconds into the fourth quarter closed the Tiger lead to two points. But the Tigers answered with a 3-pointer by Rikia Sorey to go up 53-48.
The Gators were never able to get any closer than four points after the Sorey basket as Chipley held on for the win.
“Give credit to Chipley,” Wagner said. “No. 12 (Paschal) is a heck of a player and 23 (Belser) stepped up big for them.
“But I can’t say enough about my seniors and the things they have meant to me. And the opportunity to coach my daughter (Haley Wagner) is undescribable.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524