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MONROE—What happens when a good team plays a very good team?
Well, that was Saturday's Adams Central-Garrett game, won by the 8-1 Flying Jets, 55-49, over the 5-3 Railroaders.
It was a nip-and-tuck battle as Garrett kept nipping at AC before the home team tucked the contest away with four-for-four free throwing in the last 15.6 seconds by senior star Maverick Baumer, whose 20 points led all scorers.
Central coach Aaron McClure said this was the first time since the opening overtime loss to Norwell that the Jets won by less than 10 points. He said he told his players that some teams will challenge them and "great teams find a way to finish. We did that!" He also lauded Garrett for being "a pretty solid team that could play with us," as demonstrated.
Aside from tying Adams Central's record for the second-best start to a season, the Flying Jets stayed at the head of the pack in the Allen County Athletic Conference race with a 3-0 mark, while Garrett skid to 1-2.
If AC runs the table next week in the annual ACAC tournament, this year's squad will equal the 11-1 school-record start set in the mid-1960s by one of coach Vernon Zurcher's teams. McClure also made the point that playing a tough conference opponent a few days before the tourney is a timely tuneup for next week's big event, since winning Indiana's oldest conference crown is among Adams Central's goals this year, including a sectional title and at least 20 victories for the first time in school history.
The final stanza saw Porter slice a 14-foot shot and then a layup plus a foul shot to make it 48-47 at 2:43. Baumer went one for two at the stripe at 2:29 for a 49-47 lead and did not miss again.
AC's other 6-6 senior, Ben Snider, who also had two blocks, nailed a layup off a bullet pass from Combs at 1:31 to extend the lead to 51-47.
Then, it became Baumer vs. Garrett as he bagged four straight free ones, while the Railroaders got a Landes layup at seven seconds.
Adams Central will open the ACAC tourney on Tuesday at home against Heritage, with the girls' varsity at 6 p.m. and the boys' varsity afterwards.
Garrett came in at 9-2, while AC was 5-3, but it was the Flying Jets, propelled by sophomore Hayden Black's 20 points, who emerged with the W in junior varsity ball, 39-25. Black almost tied the visitors, with six field goals and five foul shots.
Nick Baumer, Mav's 10th grade brother, posted nine points and junior Kurt Blake tallied five.