Baylor ends impressive regular-season run with dominant win

Staff photo by Patrick MacCoon / Baylor's Zane Restelli swings a pass to the corner for a 3-point make in Monday's 81-56 home victory over Hamilton Heights.
Staff photo by Patrick MacCoon / Baylor's Zane Restelli swings a pass to the corner for a 3-point make in Monday's 81-56 home victory over Hamilton Heights.

A major confidence boost was landed by Baylor School's boys' basketball team Monday to close out the regular season.

With a loaded squad capable of making a run at the Division II-AA championship, the Red Raiders were dominant in an 81-56 home victory over Hamilton Heights.

Junior guard Zane Restelli picked up his team's 15th assist of the game in the final seconds of the third quarter by drawing three defenders under the hoop on a baseline drive before swinging the ball to the left corner to Bolton Born for a 3-pointer.

Born scored nine points in both the second and third quarters, which included scoring nine straight points for Baylor (19-4) in the final minute of the third.

"The objective of tonight was to try and get our swagger back that we have been playing with for most of the year," said Red Raiders head coach Mark Price, whose team is 10-1 since the new year. "We hadn't been playing great since the McCallie game here, but we really got back on track against a very athletic and big team to get our momentum back heading into the region tournament.

"We really shared the ball well tonight and so many guys contributed. I was proud we didn't scramble either when they tried to junk the game up in the second half to get back in it."

Instant offense was provided for the home team as Restelli hit a pair of Baylor's seven 3-pointers in the first quarter, while 6-foot-9 senior forward Jack Shutters flashed his passing ability with three early assists. Meanwhile Hamilton Heights had no answer for junior 6-foot-7 forward Kevin Sacas, who had 14 of his 15 points in the first half to build a 44-23 lead.

Born's 18-point night included a pair of blocked shots in the second quarter. The 6-foot-5 wing drilled three field goal attempts in back-to-back quarters, which included a pair of free throw makes in each.

"To see the shots falling in felt great," Born said. "I love hitting back-to-back-to-back shots. As a shooter, there is no greater feeling than that.

"What makes this team so dangerous is our chemistry. We understand what makes each other go and we have guys everywhere. Each position is great. We are locked in on winning the region tournament and then going to state and winning it all."

Nine players scored for the Red Raiders, while Hamilton Heights was led by senior Kevin De Kovachich's 16 points. However, the Hawks (23-5) struggled from the line, making just 6-of-17 from the charity stripe as a team.

With Born leading the way, Baylor scored 65 points over the first three quarters to coast to victory.

"I am really proud of Bolton," Coach Price said. "He can be a huge contributor to our team. He shoots the ball extremely well and passes it well too. This was probably the best game of his career, but not the first game he has made big shots for us."

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