BAKER — Powered by Garrett Sanders’s 24 points the Baker boys basketball team picked up a hard-fought District 2-1A 53-47 win over rival Freeport on Tuesday.
Sanders wasn’t a one-man show as he was joined in double figures by Brooks Taylor, who had 11 points and Justin Morgan’s 10 points.
The longtime rivals – both in rebuilding years – battled hard from the opening tip.
“We never quit, and as a coach you have to look at the positives,” Baker coach Mike Martello said. “We made some silly mistakes at time and that’s because we don’t have a lot of experience and depth.
“Every time you play Freeport, they are going to play hard. It was a battle just as we expected.”
Sanders got off to a quick start scoring five points in the first three minutes of play before Freeport (2-6, 1-3) came back behind the hot shooting of Curtiss Parker. Parker, who led the Bulldogs with 20 points, hit back-to-back baskets to give Freeport a 9-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Neither team could pull away throughout the second and third quarters.
A Parker 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 14-9 lead with 6:15 left in the first half, but the lead didn’t last long.
Wilder Kersey hit a 3-pointer for Baker (3-4, 1-1) – his only basket of the night to cut the Bulldog advantage to 14-12. Sanders followed with basket to tie things up at 14-14.
The game remained nip-and-tuck and was tied 37-37 after three.
Three-point baskets by Ryder Newman ands Parker to open the fourth quarter put the Bulldogs up 43-37.
Taylor then scored the next eight points for Baker to put the Gators in front 45-43 with 5:41 left in the game. A basket by Sanders made the score 47-43 and the Bulldogs never got closer than three points the rest of the way.
Freeport coach David Burke wasn’t surprised by the way the game unfolded.
“It played out like I figure it would,” he said. “I thought Baker would give us a good game. It’s hard to beat Baker at Baker because coach Martello does a lot of good things up here.
Newman joined Parker in double figures for the Bulldogs with 11 points. No other Freeport player scored more than six points.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524