Eli Baker secures Championship in thrilling finale for Jr. Cyclone Jr. Cadet 1 Team

Published 10:51 am Monday, February 26, 2024

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By C.Y. Peters

In a heart-stopping championship showdown between the Jr. Cyclone Jr. Cadet 1 Team and the Little Milligan Buffaloes, it was a battle that carved itself into the archives of junior cadet basketball history. The final scoreline of 12-11 encapsulated the nail-biting intensity of a game that saw the Jr. Cyclones claw their way back from a four-point deficit early on.

Little Milligan had dominated almost the entire game, setting the tone with an early 4-0 lead. However, the Jr. Cyclones, led by their resilient spirit, mounted a comeback in the dying minutes. With 45 seconds left on the clock, Betsy found themselves trailing by three. That’s when Eli Blevins stepped up, stealing the ball and sprinting the length of the court. A clutch performance at the free-throw line, sinking both shots, brought Betsy within striking distance, trailing by just one point.

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In a desperate attempt, Milligan fired a shot with 16 seconds remaining, but a critical deflection gave Betsy one last chance. The clock ticking down to a mere 1.5 seconds, it all came down to the inbound play. Eli Etter, showing nerves of steel, delivered a pinpoint pass to Eli Baker. Baker, who had strategically rolled off a screen on the opposite side, found himself wide open.

With a swift release, Baker launched the shot that would go down in Jr. Cadet lore. The ball sailed through the net just as the horn sounded, propelling the Jr. Cyclones to a 12-11 victory and clinching the tournament championship. This breathtaking victory not only secured the tournament title but also capped off an undefeated regular season for the Jr. Cyclone Jr. Cadet 1 Team, cementing their legacy in the realm of junior basketball greatness.