Coming off an exciting win over Lake Wales last Friday night, Tuesday was to be a huge clash between Class 7A - District 7 rivals.
The Bartow Yellow Jackets boys basketball team traveled to Haines City with a record of 12-2 (2-1 in district) to take on the Ridge Community Bolts who entered the contest 10-5 (2-1 in district).
Bartow has never really had much luck playing well at Ridge. The gym lighting is awful, the home crowd is very small and there isn’t the atmosphere like you have at a Jackets home game.
Those factors usually led to uninspired effort and lackluster performances by Bartow. But it didn’t on Tuesday night.
Ridge jumped out to a 2-0 lead off the opening tip. Bartow answered right back with a Kerry Jones basket to tie the game. After a Jackets defensive stop, Bartow’s Karlos Odum hit a bucket for a 4-2 lead.
From there, the Jackets erased any doubt as to whether they would have a letdown after the emotional Lake Wakes win or a hard time in the Ridge gym. After one quarter, Bartow had a 16-9 advantage.
Turnovers and aggressive defense by both teams kept the score low until the Jackets netted 23 second quarter points. So, the game headed to the half with the visitors leading 39-28.
Coming out of halftime, Bartow made some defensive adjustments and turned up the heat on the Bolts. Ridge scored only nine third quarter points as the Jackets lead grew to 19 points, 56-37.
The fourth a final quarter saw Bartow put it on cruise control, winning 75-48.
The Jackets were led by Odum with 14 points, Quincy Childs and Ricky Williams with 12 each and Christopher Perry with 10.
The win raised the Bartow record to 13-2 and 3-1 in district play.
The team played Lake Region last night at home but the game ran past the print deadline.
On Tuesday, Jan. 15, Bartow will travel to Haines City looking to get revenge for their lone loss to a Florida high school team. The Varsity game will tip at 7:30 p.m.