PAXTON — Baker boys basketball coach Mike Martello said it wasn’t Paxton’s pressure defense that hurt the Gators as they took on the Bobcats on Monday.
Although Paxton did us an unrelenting press that seemed to expose some of the Gator weaknesses, Martello believed the Gators were their own worst enemies.
“We are a better basketball team than that,” he said. “We missed some easy shots and made some mental errors early on and got down early. And that made everything worse after that.
“I don’t think their pressure did that much to us, but it was just our mental mistakes.”
Whether it was the Bobcat pressure or the Gators playing poorly, the end result was the same as Paxton beat Baker 68-40.
Paxton coach Jeff Bradley said this is a new style of play for the Bobcats who, in the past, have relied on big men in the middle to lead the way.
“This is a new style for us,” he said. “We haven’t played this way since I’ve been here, but we are so guard oriented and we’ve got some of the best shooters I’ve had as a group.
“We want to see if we can get the tempo in our favor and hit some shots.”
In the early going the Paxton pressure didn’t seem to rattle the Gators. Six minutes into the first quarter the Bobcats (3-1) held an 11-10 lead.
The next three mintues of play saw Paxton go on an 8-0 run. A Forrest Wibbing basket with 5:57 left in the second quarter capped the run and extended the Bobcat lead to 19-11.
Baker (1-3) got a 3-point play from Josh Hartzog to close the Paxton lead to 19-14 and that’s as close as the Gators got the rest of the way.
A free throw by Asa Fayne started a 10-0 Bobcat run that extended the Paxton lead to 29-14 as the Bobcats led by double digits the rest of the way.
The Bobcats stretched a 15-11 lead after the first period to 37-19 at the half.
And the pressure continued throughout the game.
Beating the Gators is always is always special for Bradley, who graduated from Baker and was a high school teammate of Martello.
Me and Mike go way back and we played high school ball together,” Bradley said. “Of course, he played and I watched a lot. But it’s always good to be able to win that game.”
When the final horn sounded Grant Stewart’s 14 points led a quartet of Bobcats in double figures. Desmond Moore added 13 points and Dustin Geoghagan and Austin Carnley each had 10 points.
Anderson was one basket away from double figures scoring eight for the Bobcats.
Hartzog led the Gators with 14 points. Brooks Taylor added 12 points and Garrett Sanders had seven points for Baker.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524