BAKER — It was a brother act of sorts for the Laurel Hill boys basketball team Thursday night as the Hoboes traveled to Baker for a showdown of North Okaloosa County squads.
Brothers Tommy and Tamaria Calloway were instant offense and constant defense for Laurel Hill. The brother tandem teamed up to score 39 of Laurel Hill’s 60 points with Tommy leading the way with 24 points.
In the end the Hoboes had a little bit too much depth and firepower as they rolled to a 60-48 win over the Gators.
Laurel Hill coach Kent Zessin said it was nice for the Hoboes (1-2) to pick up their first win of the season.
“It feels real good coming over here and getting the win,” he said. Coach (Mike) Martello does and excellent job and we knew coming into the game it was going to be a battle, and that’s what it was.
“We came out and shot the ball really well. If we shoot the ball well we are pretty good. In the losses we had we struggled to score. “I thought the two Calloway boys really stepped it up in the first half and gave us a nice lead and we were able to build on that lead with our defense in the second half.”
Baker (0-2) took an early 4-0 lead on baskets by Justin Shaw and Justin Morgan but the lead didn’t last long.
A Garrett Alford free throw and back-to-back buckets by Tommy Calloway put the Hoboes in front 5-4 with 3:47 left in the opening period.
Garrett Sanders connected on a pair of free throws to give Baker a 6-5 lead. The scoring outburst continued with Tommy Calloway hitting a 3-pointer for the Hoboes that was followed by Baker getting a 3-point basket from Brooks Taylor.
Taylor’s basket, which came with 2:59 left in the first quarter, gave the Gators their last lead of the game at 9-8.
A Tamaria Calloway basket capped a wild minute of play that saw the teams combining for 12 points in 59 seconds. The basket gave the Hoboes the lead once and for all and started an eight-point run that put Laurel Hill up 16-9.
Josh Hartzog scored for Baker to stop the Hobo run. Hartzog scored again to pull the Gators to within three points of the Hoboes, but that’s as close as Baker got the rest of the way.
Tanner McQuaig score for Laurel Hill with three seconds left in the first quarter.
The Calloways were at it again early in the second quarter as each scored to extend the Laurel Hill lead to 22-13.
A long 3-pointer by Alford at the second-period buzzer sent th Hoboes to the intermission up 37-24.
Taylor hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter and Hartzog scored five points as the Gators cut the Hobo lead to five points. Five points was as close at Baker got as Laurel Hill scored some late baskets to pull away with the win.
“Any time you play Laurel Hill at the beginning of the season it’s almost like midseason for them because they’ve been doing this since the fall,” Martello said. That’s one the advantages (of being at a non football school) and Kent does a great job of taking advantage of.
“We made way too many mental errors in the first half and we gave them way too many second-chance shots where they got the rebound two and three times. That’s kind of to be expected because this was only our second game. I was hoping we could execute a little bit better than we did.”
Hartzog led the Gators with 19 points. Taylor added 17 points on five 3-pointers.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524