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Bay basketball off to a solid start this season

Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 10:42 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The Bay basketball team is looking to build momentum in the post-holiday part of the schedule.

That effort off to a good start, with the Tornadoes getting their 7th win in 11 games by beating North Bay Haven Monday night.

Head Coach Rusty Cook’s squad working to get momentum as it heads towards the stretch run of the season and eventually into all important district play and the district tournament. That after a bit of an odd start to the season with Bay winning three of its first four games. They then lost three straight. But bounced back to win three straight over the holiday break. And now a fourth straight win Monday with the 83-65 victory over the Buc’s.

I caught up with the Bay head coach Monday afternoon via zoom, and we talked about his team’s up and down start this season.

“You know we had a really good start.” coach Cook told me. “And a lot of people around us were telling us how good we are. I knew that was a little bit of fool’s gold. Because I have seven sophomores on varsity. So I knew there would be some growing pains along the way and we’ve experienced some of those. So I would say we look really good at times, and other times we don’t look so good. But the consistency with the younger players is important, but we haven’t had that. So just a few growing pains here and there.”

I went on to ask the coach about what he likes about his team thus far, and again he made reference to the roster’s youth, but said that isn’t preventing his players from putting in great effort.

This team plays really hard.” Cook said. “Like I said I have a lot of young kids that are competing for playing time. You know that’s tough for some, but some of these kids have seem to embrace that. And so when they get their opportunities I really see these kids playing really hard. Now the lack of experience, varsity experience, is tough at times. We had no summer and that’s usually when the kids from j.v. come up to varsity and get some varsity experience. Those kids, their effort is there. It’s just going to take a little time for them to get used to the speed of the game, and they’re getting there.”

The win Monday over North Bay Haven the first win in 4A-1 play. That district with just Bay, North Bay Haven and South Walton, so it will be a four game league season which will determine the seeding for the all important district tournament next month. Important the way it used to be before the FHSAA went to a system of taking the champ from each district into the playoffs, and the other teams based on a statewide poll.

“Well they’ve done away with that this year, going back to the old system that is district champ and district runner up.” Cook told me. “Honestly which is the way that I prefer it. Because I think basketball should be determined by a tournament. Every level of basketball is determined by a tournament and not rankings. So they’re going back to this year. You have to be peaking at the right time, and I think that’s what basketball should be.”

Bay plays its next game, and its next district game Wednesday at South Walton.

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