DES MOINES — Former Creston High School basketball players Spencer Bakerink and Colby Taylor played for Central College here Sunday in an exhibition game against the Drake Bulldogs in the Knapp Center.
Bakerink is a senior starting post player for the Dutch, while Taylor saw time off the bench as a freshman.
“I feel like this was a great test for us, a great opportunity,” Bakerink said. “I feel like after this game, it showed us a lot of what we need to work on and what we’ve been doing well. Our first game isn’t until two weeks from now, so we have an opportunity to get better, and we can use those two weeks and it will help us tremendously.”
The Dutch open the regular season Nov. 15 at Monmouth (Ill.).
Bakerink and Taylor agreed one of the biggest challenges in facing Division I Drake was the size difference that favored the Bulldogs.
Bakerink, listed at 6-6 and 225, spent the entire game in foul trouble while trying to guard 6-11, 275-pound Seth VanDeest.
“We don’t see anybody in the conference like that, and we don’t see anybody in practice like that,” Bakerink said. “So I guess the last time I saw someone like that was in high school with Brandon Scherff (of Denison-Schleswig, now a starting offensive lineman for the Iowa Hawkeyes). I wasn’t accustomed to it, so it was kind of tough to get back into it.”
“I’d say that’s the biggest difference between Division I and Division III, is the size,” Taylor said. “I doubt we’ll see anyone like that in the IIAC this year. A good test, though; in case we do.”
Bakerink finished the game with one point before fouling out in nine minutes of on-court action. Taylor finished with two points on a pair of free throws, and also recorded a block and an assist in 12 minutes of play.
Sam Markham of Atlantic is also a freshman on the team. Markham played 15 minutes and recorded three rebounds and one assist.
The opportunity for Bakerink and Taylor to play together at the collegiate level is something they’re both excited about.
“I think it’s awesome,” Bakerink said. “I got to play with him in high school when he was a freshman and now he’s here. I think it’s even more special that he’s out on the court with me.”
“I love it, because we didn’t get to play that much together — only the last couple of games in high school,” Taylor said. “It’s a little taste of practice back in high school when I get to play with him now. I love it.”