Third quarter leads BHS boys to 57-32 victory
The Baldwin High School boys varsity basketball team won their first game of the season at home. The Bulldogs defeated the Osawatomie Trojans 57-32.
"In some aspect, basically everyone (the players) contributed in one way or another," said coach Bobby Taul.
"It wasn't ugly, but it wasn't pretty, either," Taul said of the opener. "There were times that we came down and were disciplined and ran our offense and looked good. There were times when we came down and weren't disciplined and we didn't look good."
The first quarter of the game remained close. The Bulldogs struggled offensively, but led at the end of the quarter at 12-11. The second quarter also remained close and the Bulldogs went into halftime with a 23-18 lead.
"We went in and talked at halftime about what we needed to do," he said. "These kids are smart and know what they needed to do. We came back out in the third quarter and did what we needed to do."
The third quarter was the strongest quarter for the Bulldogs. After getting out the jitters and nervousness displayed in the first half the Bulldogs played well. They opened with a string of steals and layups by junior Eric Black and seniors Tony Zuzzio, Ben Cosman and Heath Knight that quickly built a double-digit lead. By the end of the quarter, they pulled away with a 44-25 lead over the Trojans. The Bulldogs kept their lead and finished up with a 25-point victory over the Trojans.
"The third quarter was the best," Taul said. "We came out and did the things we talked about at halftime."
Knight had a strong game, scoring 22 points and hauling down eight rebounds.
"I thought I played up to everyone's standards," Knight said. "The team fought hard. This was an important win and we came through."
Cosman added 15 points, nine rebounds and five steals. Zuzzio added another four steals to the Bulldog victory. Steals and the corresponding layups proved to be the difference for BHS. The Bulldogs picked the Trojans clean for 21 steals.
"That was probably more steals than we had in 21 games last year," said Taul. "That's getting in people's faces and playing aggressive defense.
"I was pleased with the way we played defense," he said. "If we play that kind of good defense, it will become the offense when you're struggling. You can have an off night offensively, which we did, but you can play strong defense every night. That's what I want us to be known for is our fundamentally strong defense. We gave up 32 points and that's got to make you happy."
The season-opening win put the Bulldogs, who are ranked in some Class 4A polls, off to a 1-0 start. The competition will get rougher as they enter tournament play.
"For the rest of the week we need to make sure we do the things that we're supposed to," Taul said. "We need to make sure we know what we're doing."
The Bulldogs are playing in the 2000 Trailblazer Invitational Tournament this week in Gardner. They opened play Monday night against Bishop Ward. They will also play Tuesday and Friday, depending on the outcomes of each game.
Next home game is Dec. 12 against Topeka Hayden. All three teams, varsity, junior varsity and freshmen, will be in action.