BIG TICKET- Independence forward Melvin Baker produced a stat line of 28 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, three assists and three steals in a 49-29 victory over NLC last night. Photo by Matthew Roy.
By Jesse Brooks
INDEPENDENCE- Ranked No. 10 in the LHSAA 2A power rankings, the Independence boys basketball team is 2-0 in District 9-2A after besting Northlake Christian 49-29 on Tuesday, January 9. The win puts the Tigers at 10-2 overall this season.
Senior forward Melvin Baker produced a stat line of 28 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, three steals and three assists during the road to victory.
“He’s been coming out every game so far and establishing himself early,” said Tigers Coach Ace Misita. “We like to feed him early and judge how other teams are going to play him. Then we will wrinkle our plans off of that.
Baker hit back-to-back 3-point shots to open an 8-0 run by himself against NLC.
NLC did not score until the 2:30 mark in the first quarter after baskets by Baker and Genord Perry established an early 14-2 lead for the Tigers. Baker immediately responded with a layup of his own, sparking another Tiger run and ending the opening period with a 16-2 lead.
The Tiger lead ballooned to 30-2 in the second period after Baker scored on three alley oops plays, and Micheal Otkins contributed two jumpers in the lane. The half time score would end with a 30-4 lead, with 20 points possessed by Baker.
NLC found shooting in the second half by making three shots beyond the arc in the third quarter, plus two more in the fourth, but they could not overcome a deficit that sat at 45-22 with 6:31 left in regulation as the Tigers proved to be too much to handle for their defense.
In addition to Baker’s big night, Otkins finished with eight points total, and Perry finished with seven.
As the Tigers look to write their own destiny in district, they face a challenge in rival Amite, who will host the matchup on Friday.
“We’re going to come out Friday and try to challenge them,” Misita said. “They’re athletic and well coached by Coach Ronald Cox who does a great job with those guys. They force you to play fast and we’re looking forward to it.”
The last time the two teams met, Independence fell to the Warriors 44-35. Misita believes his team has improved since then, but knows the Warriors will be making adjustments of their own.
“My guys fought hard for me in that game, but we fell short,” Misita said. “Amite is always going to be a challenge.”
Currently the Warriors hold a 7-9 overall record, and a 1-0 standing in District 9-2A.