LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - Chai Baker had 44 points and 14 rebounds to lead Malone to a 78-61 victory over Hamilton County in the Florida Class A boys basketball championship game.
Baker, an Oregon State commit, broke open a close game Thursday with his dynamic, all-around effort and ability to get to the basket.
Hamilton County (26-4) had a strong first half and took an 18-10 lead in the first period after Shaquille Williams scored off of a turnover. However, Malone (20-8) closed out the period strong behind a four-point play from Baker and would eventually take a 31-29 halftime lead.
While Baker almost single-handedly carried Malone in the first half, his teammates Antwain Johnson and Xavier Gray helped with the heavy lifting in the second half. Johnson finished with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Gray added six points and 14 rebounds.
Kevin McClain led Hamilton County with 25 points before fouling out late in the fourth. Williams added 16 points and nine rebounds.