After surrendering an early lead and trailing through the second half, a late surge from State Fair Community College men’s basketball – bookmarked by an Amir Smith 3-pointer and Russell Baker jam – fueled an 83-76 win Tuesday against Link Year Prep in Sedalia.
Baker – wearing tired knees, Polo socks and pink, mango and turquoise Kobe 11s – provided more than enough sauce to season the SFCC comeback with a dunk two minutes from the final buzzer. State Fair separated from the Lions, 80-69 after the Smith-Baker sequence.
Late efforts to refocus have been a staple for the 2016-17 Roadrunners, coming off a 73-64 loss to Southeastern on Saturday, Jan. 7.
Baker said this season’s patter of close results speak to the Roadrunner’s competitiveness.
“Even in the games that we lost and we haven’t performed that well, we really thought we could win those games,” Baker said. “I think we’re really starting to come together and mesh. We’ve had some really good practices, focused a lot better. We all believe in each other now.”
Onteral Woodson Jr. led five Roadrunners with double-digit scoring with 20 points. Smith recorded a 13 point, 13 rebound double-double, Vonny Irvin scored 12 points with nine rebounds and four assists and Corey Mendez and Isaac Bassey with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
While some teams shoot the lights out, Link Year Prep shot out the speakers. Near-silence fell upon the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose gym after consistent Lion there-point makes. Rylan Bergersen was 6-for-12 from downtown as the Lions shot 41 percent from three in the first half.
Bergersen, 6-foot-5, game Link Year Prep the lead with a corner three over Smith, leaping to close out. The Lions led 38-33 at halftime, relinquished its lead with 10 minutes to play, but used its shooter’s extended range stayed within reach of the Roadrunners.
Baker said the Lions offered surprising height – especially on the perimeter – once the game began.
“They didn’t look that tall when they walked in,” Baker said. “When we went on the court, we were like, ‘Whoa.’”
State Fair (11-7) hosts Three Rivers Community College (14-4) 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2