The Baker High varsity basketball Wildcats got a pair of big wins over district opponents the past week to help move them into the second spot in the district race. The Cats defeated Forrest on January 22 and Terry Parker three nights later in the BCHS gym. The wins moved the Cats to 16-4 overall and 2-2 in the district race.
To call the 75-66 win over Forrest hard fought would be an understatement. This was a chippy game that saw the visitors hit with technical fouls and a delay of game warning.
It was a battle under the basket with an excess of physical play. At one point the benches cleared when a scuffle broke out involving CeCe Jefferson and other players.
The Wildcats and Rebels went basket for basket in the early going. Forrest nailed shots from the outside, including a trio of three pointers. Jesse Gardner and Johnny Lamb answered with long range shots of their own and at the end of the first period the score was knotted 16-16.
The Rebels continued to shoot the ball well in the first half and slowly pulled ahead of their hosts. They broke the tie and went into the intermission up by three points.
The quality of a good team shows in its ability to make adjustments to what an opponent is doing, and the Cats came out in the third period to shut down the Rebels’ top three scorers. None of them scored in the period and BCHS went on a 15-7 run that gave them a five-point edge going into the final quarter of the game.
That’s when things got raucous.
The tempo of the game picked up as Forrest began pushing and shoving the Wildcat players, in particular CeCe Jefferson. The referee called a technical for the way Jefferson was being manhandled and Jesse Gardner calmly sank the free throws. Gardner’s prowess from the line was to prove the difference in the game. He scored 10 of his 15 points from the free throw stripe in the fourth period and nailed all but one of his attempts as the Cats pulled ahead to stay.
Charles Ruise Jr. had 22 points to lead all scorers. Lamb had 17, Gardner had 15, Brandon Lewis 7, Jefferson and Adrian Robinson 6 points.
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