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VALE – During a typical season, a high school basketball fan may see one game creep into overtime. A double overtime may occur once every few years for a lucky few. But a triple overtime, unheard of for most fans.
For those attending the Baker/Vale boys’ basketball game on Tuesday, Jan. 18, a good game was expected. The Vikings were highly ranked in the 3A while Baker was ranked in the top ten in the 4A polls. Most Viking fans appeared shocked as the starting five were named for the Bulldogs, a group comprised of three freshman and two sophomores.
In a fast-paced game that still was over in under two hours even with triple overtime, Baker finally took a non-league win, 88-87. After witnessing more than a good share of blowout wins this season across the area, this game had it all.
Baker had more than a few opportunities to win it all, only to see problems at the free throw line allow Vale back into the game (for the game, the Bulldogs were 6-for-16 from the line). Vale had opportunities to win it all, only to see errant passes bounce crazy with Baker able to steal easy baskets off the turnovers. With the tension building with each overtime, hometown fans and Baker assistant coaches actually became involved in a yelling match-this was old school basketball.
This was not a game of one team battling back from a deficit. At the half, both teams showed 36 points on the board. As regulation ended, the only change was the points scored for both teams stood at 64 points. Baker did have the lead at the end of regulation when freshman Jaron Long grabbed a steal off Vale, going the length of the court for the go-ahead bucket, 64-62. With 18 second on the clock, Vale’s Luke McGourty sank a clutch shot to send the game into the first overtime period.
The first overtime period ended with both teams showing 73 points when Tanner Steele sank two free throws with 14 seconds showing on the clock.
In the third overtime, the Bulldogs took an 86-85 lead after Spike Hudsons grabbed a rebound, putting the ball back up an through the net. With only 18 seconds left, Vale’s Colton Stepleton sank two free throws to put the Vikings up by a single point, 87-86. The hero for the Bulldogs turned out to be freshman Isaiah Jones, who with two seconds left in the third overtime, grabbed the final bucket for the win.
It was fitting Jones had the final points for Baker as he led the Bulldogs with 21 points for the game, including 10 points in the overtime periods. Hudson and Paul Hobson both ended the exciting matchup with 20 points. Jaron Long ended his night with 14 points.
Photo Gallery – Vale v Baker – John Braese
For Vale, Diesel Johnson was a terror for the Bulldog defense, ending the night with 31 points. Stepleton finished with 16 points and McGourty had 14 points including four 3-pointers. Perimeter shooting for the Vikings was hot against the Baker defense with Vale sinking 13 long range shots. For the night, Vale was 11-for-12 from the free throw line.
It will be a long time for fans of both teams to witness another game like this between two well-coached teams battling until the very end.
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