BAKER — On nights when baskets are hard to come by, a coach can only hope for better days and try to find positives from which to build.
Baker School's boys basketball team had one of those nights Friday as the Gators connected on just seven shots in a 65-28 loss to District 3-1A foe Chipley.
"We had to hope they shot the ball poorly, which they didn't," Gator Coach Mike Martello said. "And we had to hope that we shot the ball very well, which I didn't think we did.
"We did play hard, and that's a credit to the guys. We had some real good plays made by hustle and that's kind of what you hope for when you're up against a team like that."
The Tigers took a quick lead on a Bradley Hall basket six seconds into the game. Baker tied the game on a Justin Morgan basket with 7:26 left in the first quarter.
Chipley then went on a 23-1 run to close out the first quarter and take control of the game.
Tyrome Sharpe did most of the damage for the Tigers, scoring 12 of his game-high 18 points in the quarter.
Baker's only point during the Chipley run came on a free throw by Austin Martin.
Martin led the Baker charge in the second quarter as the Gators tried to stay close. Martin scored 11 of his team leading 12 points in the second quarter.
"Austin Martin was actually getting on the free throw line and hitting his free throws, and that's a positive for him," Martello said. "Just because he plays hard, he's going to do a lot of good things for us."
Martin wasn't the lone Gator stepping up his game in the second quarter.
Morgan hit a 3-point basket for Baker and the Gators picked up scores from Wilder Kersey, Austin Hicks and Justin Shaw as they outscored Chipley 20-17 in the period.
Baker trailed 42-23 at the start of the third quarter, but the Gators only scored two baskets the rest of the way.
Morgan hit a 3-pointer halfway through the third quarter and he scored on a 2-point basket in the fourth.
The Gators couldn't adjust when the Tigers changed defenses in the third quarter from a full-court pressure defense to a man-to-man look, Martello said.
"We expected more of the press and we weren't able to get into our man offense very well," he said.
"And when you don't shoot the ball very well against that kind of defense, it's going to be a long night."
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.