BAKER — In the regular season's final week, Baker School girls basketball coach James Kerrell sees each game as a growing experience for his young squad.
“Every game is a learning process,” he said. “We are young, and this (season) has given us an opportunity to play younger girls and get them prepared and some game experience.
“We are trying to get better every game and as long as we do that, win, lose or draw, I’m OK with the outcome.”
The outcome for Baker on Monday wasn’t good as Central beat the Gators 50-42.
Lily Phillips put the Gators on the board seven seconds into the game.
Central’s Makayla Simmons scored five quick points for the Jaguars only to see Baker get back-to-back 3-point baskets from Jessica Black and Natalie Booker.
The Baker run continued with a 2-point basket from Black before Simmons hit a free throw.
The Gators led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter and the game was tied 23-23 at the half.
Things started to slip away from Baker in the third quarter as the Jaguars outscored the Gators by three points in the period to take a 35-32 lead.
Baker’s final lead of the game came on a basket by Phillips with 35 seconds left in the third quarter to put the Gators up 32-31.
Central’s Sarah Snaith scored the last two baskets of the third quarter to put the Jaguars in front to stay.
Central scored seven unanswered points to start the fourth quarter and open a 10-point lead.
Baker got a basket from Chloe Fox and a 3-pointer from Booker to get back to within five, but that’s as close as the Gators would get in the final minutes of the game.
“I felt like we executed what I wanted us to do,” Kerrell said. “I wanted to get an up tempo game and pressure their guards. We’ve been trying to work on pressuring the ball a little bit to get easy buckets.
“In the first half I felt like we did a pretty good job. We had some breakdowns here and there in the second half and in the fourth quarter I was disappointed that we weren’t mentally tough and didn’t execute. Overall I felt like we needed to do, but not nearly enough of it.”
Central’s Simmons led all scorers with 24 points. Snaith had 12 points for the Jaguars.
Booker and Black each scored 12 points for Baker.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.