'Versatile' Bulldogs working toward playoff push
Bulldogs guard Jimaya Baker dribbled the ball up the court with 6:46 to play in a tie game against Middleburg.
The 5-foot-5 junior noticed a lapse in the Broncos’ defense and pulled the trigger. Her pullup 3-pointer from the top of the arc ripped the net to give the Bulldogs an ounce of breathing room in the fourth quarter.
On the Bulldogs’ Senior Night, it was the underclassmen who powered Flagler Palm Coast to a 71-63 victory over Middleburg on the night of Tuesday, Jan. 30, at FPC High School. While FPC’s lone senior, Skye Green, scored 17 points, ripped down 10 rebounds and blocked four shots, sophomore guard Brianna Ellis scored a game-high 21 points, doing most of her damage from mid range. Baker chipped in 16 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals.
The Bulldogs jumped to a 19-10 lead after the first quarter, but behind a barrage of 3-pointers, the Broncos battled back to take the lead 25-23 with 4:18 left in the first half. Both teams traded punches throughout the second half until Baker’s 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs the lead for good.
Assistant coach Eric Guerrero — who is serving in the place of suspended head coach Javier Bevacqua — kept telling his team to play with mental strength.
“She matured so much as a player since Day 1. Now, she’s showing everyone the kind of player she is. She’s a Division I athlete and a great teammate.”
-FPC assistant coach Eric Guerrero on Skye Green.
“We’re getting closer to the playoffs now,” he said. “It’s a mental game now. If you go to the Final Four, it’s the same thing: You’ve got to be mentally tough and stay focused and finish the game out.”
The playoffs begin on Feb. 7. The Bulldogs will feature one of the toughest players in the area in Green, who was honored before Tuesday night’s game. But beyond Green, the Bulldogs have a reservoir of talent. In addition to Ellis and Baker, sophomore guard Dyman Howard brings extra versatility to the Bulldogs with her ability to handle the ball and shoot from beyond the arc.
“We can switch it up when we need to,” Baker said. “Skye is a really great player, but our guards can make things happen as well. It’s good to know that we have players who can make something happen.”
However, Guerrero expects Green, who led FPC to the Regional Semi-Finals only a year ago, to continue to be the “glue” for this team.
“She matured so much as a player since Day 1,” Guerrero said. “Now, she’s showing everyone the kind of player she is. She’s a Division I athlete and a great teammate.”