The Big Pine Warriors basketball team clinched the Hi-Lo League championship with an apocalyptic, 81-41, win over the Baker Braves Saturday night, avenging the team’s only league loss, by 2 points, early last month.
“We’re coming together at the right time,” said coach Darrin Chirrick. “The kids knew what they wanted (the league championship) and they’ve been relentless. They’ve worked hard and given an incredible effort. I’m happy for them.”
The Warriors, all six of them, have bull dozed their way through the league with an average winning margin of 23 points. The win Saturday night came just 24 hours after Big Pine took out the Immanuel Christian Crusaders by 28 points on the road.
Four of the six Warriors were in double digits: Jesse Chirrick with 28; Su-Ma Davis, 19; sophomore Micah Bacoch, 18, and Ryan Carrington, 10.
Parker Bear and Bailey Chirrick were lethal under the boards with 13 and 7 rebounds respectively.
Big Pine played smart and played hard, coming into the second half with a substantial lead and a little of the swagger of champions.
The first quarter was the only eight minutes with any doubt as to the outcome. The Warriors and Braves played dead even at 12-12 through the first six minutes. The Braves guarded the net to force riskier outside shots. It didn’t work. Jesse Chirrick broke the tie and Bacoch added an extra 2 for insurance, ending the first quarter 16-12.
The Warriors figured out the Braves in the second quarter; the Braves never did figure out the Warriors.
Davis started a 24-point scoring drive on Big Pine’s first possession; Bear contributed from the free-throw line; Carrington, Bacoch and Chirrick kept the buckets coming.
With 3:40 left in the half, the Braves finally found the net; a 3-pointer gave them 17 to Big Pine’s 33. The Warriors effectively shut down the Braves’ offense. Baker managed 5 more points in the half, all from the foul line.
Big Pine denied the Braves any more than one try, if that, under their basket while the Warriors converted the turnovers into more points on the board. At the buzzer, Big Pine had scored 22 points and held Baker to 10. The Warriors went to the locker room with a 42-22 lead.
Baker started the third quarter with a small show of offense, hitting for 2, then 3, all off Big Pine turnovers. The Warriors broke the cycle and Bacoch was quick to get Big Pine back on the board.
Baker managed another 3-pointer, but then the Warriors really went to work in what looked more like choreography than basketball. Davis was pulling down rebounds, flying down court for easy lay-ups. Carrington was hot on the board, sending the ball to Chirrick or Bacoch. Bear missed from the free-throw line, caught his own rebound and sank a bucket.
By the end of the quarter, Big Pine had scored 26 points, held Baker to 12 and led at 68-34.
Two minutes into the final quarter, Big Pine led by 40 points, 77-37, the margin at which the clock could run. Coach Chirrick told his Warriors not to run up points, they’d done what they came to do. The Warriors were still strong on defense, holding the Braves to 4 points in the final minutes. On offense, Big Pine did an exhibition of parameter passing, running the shot clock before going in for a bucket.
The buzzer stopped the game at 81-41 and the celebration started.
Tentatively, the Warriors will host round one of the playoffs, Wednesday, Feb. 15. The pairings and final details will be released this Sunday.
Bailey Chirrick: 2 pts.,7 rebs., 1 steal, 1 assist
Su-Ma Davis: 19 pts., 7 rebs., 5 steals, 6 assists
Jesse Chirrick: 28 pts., 9 rebs., 5 steals, 6 assists, 2 blocks
Micah Bacoch: 18 pts., 14 rebs., 2 steals, 1 assist
Parker Bear: 4 pts., 13 rebs., 1 steal, 2 assists
Ryan Carrington: 10 pts., 8 rebs., 3 steals, 2 blocks, 2 assists