BAKER — A sluggish start didn’t deter the Baker girls basketball team from a strong finish against District 2-1A foe Freeport on Monday.
The Gators trailed the Bulldogs 6-3 after the first quarter with the lone score coming on a 3-point basketball by Haley Wagner. However, the rest of the game belonged to Baker as the Gators cruised to a 43-24 win.
Baker coach Brian Wagner was happy with the way the Gators (8-6, 2-4) bounced back from the slow start.
“One of the things our girls have done well the last several ball games – even though one of them was a loss – is we have played our tempo and our style of game,” he said. “We are pretty good defensively and we are smart.
“Offensively we do well when we are patient and take advantage of those transition moments (off turnovers or defensive rebounds) when we have them. Fortunately tonight we were able to do that. So tonight was a step in the right direction.”
Even when the Baker offense wasn’t clicking early the Gator defense did the job in keeping the game close.
Things changed quickly in the second quarter as Baker went on a 15-4 run to open up an 18-10 lead at the half.
A Bethany Chestnut basket to open the third quarter pushed the Gator lead to double digits for the first time in the game at 20-10.
The Bulldogs (6-10, 2-4) responded with a basket by Mary Kate Myrick and a pair of free throws by Katie Decker to close the Baker lead to six points.
An 11-0 Baker run sparked by Lily Phillips and Cassidy Anderson pushed the Gator lead to 31-14 with 1:04 left in the third quarter.
Freeport didn’t get closer than 14 points the rest of the way as the Gators continued to push the pace and score easy baskets in transition in pulling away to the win.
Bulldog coach Mike Myrick didn’t have to look hard to see the biggest problem facing his team.
“We just aren’t shooting the ball well right now,” he said. “When we aren’t shooting well we can’t get into our offensive flow.
“Defensively we did well. Any time you hold a team to around 40 points you should have a chance to win the game.”
Anderson led the Gators in scoring with 12 points. Chestnut had 10 and Kathryn Quigg chipped in eight points in the win.
Shadia Mitry led Freeport with nine points. Decker had 8.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524