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Defense plays big role in success of Adryauna Baker, OHS

Okeechobee High School senior Adryauna Baker launches a 3-point shot against Lincoln Park on Dec. 15, 2021, in Fort Pierce. The Brahmans reached Christmas Day with a 10-2 record. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

FORT PIERCE — On a night when her shots weren’t falling as they normally do, Okeechobee High School senior guard Adryauna Baker still managed to have a significant impact on the outcome of the Brahmans 59-33 win against Lincoln Park on Dec. 15.

When Lincoln Park trimmed a 26-point halftime deficit to five points in the third quarter, Okeechobee realized the second half in Fort Pierce wasn’t going to be a breeze.

“Me and coach agreed that we should slow it down. We were rushing too fast and we didn’t have to rush. Once we started slowing everything down, everything started flowing nicely,” Baker said.

With the lead at five, Baker’s back-to-back plays ignited a big Brahman run that put the game away. First, it was a nifty assist. Then came a steal that led to another basket. Just like that, Lincoln Park’s comeback hopes ceased.

Okeechobee High School senior guard Adryauna Baker controls the ball against Lincoln Park. on Dec. 15, 2021. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

“That’s what I was really focusing on, starting plays,” said Baker, who is the only tribal member on the varsity team.
Defense has been a key part of the Brahmans’ 10-2 record as of Christmas Day. Individually for Baker and as a team, the focus on defense has paid off.

Okeechobee’s defense has been suffocating for most of the season. Port St. Lucie scored just three points in a Nov. 19 game. Central-Fort Pierce (seven points) and South Fork (15) didn’t fare much better. Perhaps more impressive, though, are the wins against Lincoln Park, Centennial and Westwood, all of which beat Okeechobee last year.

“I’d say our defense is probably the reason we win by such large margins,” Baker said. “We try to get kills, which is where you stop the ball and you score and then you stop the ball again. We try to get at least 10 a game.”

Baker is averaging more than seven points a game. She poured in 15 points, including four 3-pointers, in a win against Treasure Coast the day after the Lincoln Park game. Throughout her four-year varsity career, she has been among the team leaders in rebounds. This season she is third with an average of five rebounds per game, trailing Semaj Jasper and team leader McKenzie Neal, a freshman.

“[Defense] is more of my focus now than my offense,” Baker said. “It’s nice to shoot a 3 every now and then, but I think defense is what wins championships and that’s what we need to focus on.”

Okeechobee High School coach Jovanny Torres talks to his team during a break against Lincoln Park on Dec. 15, 2021, in Fort Pierce. (Photo Kevin Johnson)
Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at