The Ottumwa Courier

March 1, 2014

Albia guard leads Blue Demons to state tournament berth

Courier Sports Writer

---- — OTTUMWA — Matt Baker poured in a game-high 36 points to help Albia knock off Burlington-Notre Dame 61-50 in the Class 2A, Substate 6 finals Saturday at Evans Middle School Gymnasium.

"On the big stage you have to perform," Baker said. "I felt good from the start. I got some open looks from my teammates; they set me up well. I just happened to hit them [the shots] and it just happened all game long."

Aside from Baker's momentous performance, Albia also was bolstered by the free-throw shooting disparity that existed between the two teams: The Blue Demons made 20-of-26 from the foul line, while the Nikes' connected on nine of 14.

Burlington-Notre Dame led by a slim margin for most of the game, but Albia owned the final quarter. The Nikes' Xavior Williams spearheaded his team offensively with a team-high 20 points, but 17 of them came in the first half. The Blue Demons neutralized Williams by applying a one-three-one zone defense for a good chunk of the second half.

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