Bay five-peats at Kell Classic

Friday, January 24, 2014
The Bay Yellowjackets give the five sign signifying their fifth straight George Kell Classic basketball championship last Wednesday in Swifton. (DT Photo/Anthony Cossey)

"5-peat! 5-peat! 5-peat!" This was the cheers from the Yellowjacket faithful in the stands last Wednesday night during the closing minutes of the George Kell Classic championship game being held in Swifton. As if the challenge of winning the classic for the fifth straight time, the team wanted to win for their coach, Brad Brannen. Brannen was unable to attend due to injuries suffered from an automobile accident Tuesday night. The 'Jackets made him proud as Bay (19-6) took the title with a 70-57 win over Corning.

"The kids wanted to win this for Coach Brannen," said coach Chip Layne who filled in for Brannen.

Both teams were off and running from the tip-off as they combined for 50 points in the first quarter. Corning opened the game with a three-ball as Tyler Pritchett, who scored the first nine points for Bay, came back with a three-pointer from the right corner to tie the game. Pritchett was fouled with 6:48 left attempting a three and made all three free throws to put Bay up 6-5. Less that thirty seconds later Pritchett was at the line again after being fouled making a jump shot. The free throw was good and Bay led 9-7. Corning tied the game with two free throws before Taylor Layne nailed a three-pointer from the left wing making it 12-9 Bay. Corning scored to make it 12-11 and this was as close as the Bobcats would be the rest of the night. Bay reeled off the next 10 points to take a 22-11 lead with 4:31 left. Kylor Skaggs got a lay up off the fast break, Layne nailed another three-pointer, Pritchett netted a jumper and then followed with a three-ball from the right wing. The teams took turns scoring over the last four minutes of the quarter. Skaggs and Pritchett scored baskets around two Corning baskets to make it 26-17. Dustin Utley hit two free throws and Skaggs added a free shot against two Bobcat buckets and a couple made free throws to set the first quarter score at 29-21.

Bay's Dustin Utley drives to the basket during the championship game of the Kell Classic in Swifton last Wednesday. (DT Photo/Anthony Cossey)

The second quarter saw the scoring slow down but Bay was able to extend their lead by halftime. The teams literally traded scores the first four minutes of the quarter. Utley got a steal and score to start the quarter and Layne canned a three at the 6:12 mark to make it 34-24 'Jackets. Pritchett swished a three-pointer after a Corning score and Utley hit one of two free throws after antoher Bobcat bucket making it 38-28 Bay. Pritchett got a steal and a lay up before Utley made three straight trips to the free throw line sinking five of six free throws to put Bay up 43-31. Corning got a bucket before the quarter ended to make it 43-33 Bay at the half.

The third quarter saw Corning come out a make a run, as all good teams usually do, cutting the lead to three at one point. Skaggs put Bay up 45-33 with an inside basket to open the quarter. Corning cut the lead to 45-40 with the next seven points. Layne scored on a lay up for Bay to make it 47-40 before Corning scored the next baskets making it 47-44 with 3:09 left. The teams again went on a swapping baskets run for the remainder of the quarter. Skaggs had a score, Utley had two lay ups and Pritchett's running jumper in the lane made it 55-50 Bay going to the final quarter.

Bay scored 10 straight points over the first five minutes of the fourth quarter to pretty much put the game out of reach. Skaggs canned a three-ball from the right wing, Pritchett made back to back buckets and was fouled after the second score. Pritchett was good on the free throw to make it 63-50. Utley hit two free throws to make it 65-50. Corning scored the next five points to make it 65-55 with 1:40 left. Layne got a floater in the lane to fall, Corning scored inside and Bay finished out the scoring on the night with Utley hitting one of two free throws and Layne sinking two free throws to make it 70-57.

"I think the kids came out and played really hard and were inspired by Coach Brannen not being here. He (Brannen) had everything to do with the win tonight, all the credit goes to him," Layne said. "I think our trap gave them problems in the second half and our up tempo wore them down," Layne added. "It's means a lot to have won this tournament five times in a row, our two seniors (Skaggs and Garrett Hampton) have never lost a game in Swifton."

Pritchett led all scorers with 26 points on the night. Utley finished with 17 points, Layne had 15 points and Skaggs netted 12 points for the Yellowjackets.

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