MOORE HAVEN — The Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School boys basketball team operates at two speeds: fast and faster.
The Seminoles’ quickness at both ends of the court was evident in the team’s 53-14 win against Moore Haven Middle School on Dec. 19 in Moore Haven.
The teams played a tight first quarter but that was before PECS’ speedsters Aundre Baker, Bryce Baker, Santana Alvarez and Jrayko Billie entered the game early in the second quarter.
They came off the bench and immediately changed the tone of the game and the scoreboard.
When they entered, PECS led 7-2. Billie sank a 3-pointer within seconds of stepping on the court and the Seminoles quickly pulled away.
They led 20-4 at halftime thanks in part to often forcing turnovers with a tenacious full court press that Moore Haven couldn’t solve.
In the third, the sharp-shooting Billie led off with another 3-pointer that was followed by eight straight points from point guard Aundre Baker, including a 3-pointer.
Kayden Warrior, Jaydence Urbina and Jovanny Torres were among the standouts defensively and on the boards.
The boys team, which is always among the top two or three squads in the Lake area, has continued its winning tradition this season while playing for a new coach.
Before the start of the season, Jaryaca Baker, a 2013 graduate of Okeechobee High School where she starred on the softball field, replaced her dad Preston Baker who moved up to coach Moore Haven High School’s girls varsity team.
Jaryaca Baker, who has coached Tribal basketball teams, said she received encouragement from her dad to seek the PECS job.
“He said you should apply for it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to coach boys because I know how my brothers are. I applied for it and I got it. It’s been good,” she said.
Her team has been good, hitting the holiday break with a 6-1 record. Wins have come against Yearling (twice), LaBelle, Clewiston, West Glades and Moore Haven.
The only loss came against Osceola Middle on Nov. 21 when PECS played without Baker, the point guard.
Jaryaca Baker, whose young son Jherricko is by her side every game, said she inherited a good situation because most of the players have advanced skills and plenty of experience.
“They already know how to play. They’re all really talented, so it’s just a matter of getting them to come out here and work together and listen,” she said.
The team has just two sixth-graders; the rest are from grades seven and eight.
“The returners are really good, so that helps out a lot,” Baker said.“Sometimes they don’t want to run plays; I think that’s because I’m a female and they’re boys and they try not to listen, but they do well for the most part.”
PECS will wrap up its regular season with five games in January, including a rematch against Osceola on Jan. 21 at home and eighth-grade parent night on Jan. 23 against West Glades.