Bulldog defense dooms Wellsville
Defense ruled in Friday's match between Baldwin High School and arch-rival Wellsville. When the smoke cleared and the last foul had been called, BHS's Bulldogs had a 38-36 victory over the Eagles in hand.
"Even though it was a two-point win, anytime you can beat Wellsville on the road or at home, it's a big win," said coach Bobby Taul. "We haven't had a lot of success against Wellsville in recent years. The program that coach (Kermit) Deterding has established there is what we're working for.
"To me, when you get two schools playing who are proud of their defense, that happens," Taul said of the two-point battle. "You had two defensive minded teams going after each other. It was low scoring, but that's what happens. Their defense dictated what we could do and our defense dictated what they could. We wanted to make them shoot from the outside. At the end of the game, we were giving up one shot and getting the rebound."
The game had been billed as a marquee matchup of two of the Frontier League's top big men, BHS's 6-foot-5 Andy Meinen and Wellsville's 6-6 Josh Flett. It didn't pan out. Fouls plagued both players, with Flett fouling out just into the fourth quarter and Meinen saddled with four fouls throughout the final frame. Both players spent most of the game on the bench, with Meinen ending the night with two points and Flett in single digits as well. Both entered the game averaging double figures.
Luckily for the Bulldogs, there was Ben Cosman. Cosman, a 6-4 junior, is Meinen's counterpart at post and carried BHS. He scored 25 of Baldwin's 38 points, hitting eight of 11 field goals and nine of 12 free throws. He was the only BHS player in double digits. Cosman also had a game-high 12 rebounds.
"Ben has been very steady for us all year," said Taul. "With his steady play, it didn't surprise me that he put up those kind of numbers. You can't concentrate on one (Meinen or Cosman). If you stop one, the other one steps up.
"Ben got a lot of his points on the offensive boards. He knows where the ball is going and is a good rebounder," he said. "He was taking it to the hole, getting fouled and hitting his free throws. He has worked hard on that and has become a good free throw shooter."
Cosman showed early in the game that he was going to carry the load. BHS fell behind 8-1 in the first quarter, but battled back. Cosman hit a pair of free throws with 1:22 left in the frame to give the Bulldogs their first lead at 11-10. The Eagles rallied back, however, and were up 16-12 at the end of the quarter.
It was more of the same in the second stanza. Cosman hit a follow shot just into the quarter to tie it up. Senior Joe Kivett hit one of two free throws following an intentional foul to give BHS the lead with 5:45 left in the half. On the ensuing possession Cosman used a strong inside move to put the Bulldogs up 19-16 with 5:12. Again Wellsville answered and had a 26-24 halftime lead.
The third quarter was a repeat, with the Eagles ahead until Cosman converted a three-point play at the 4:42 mark to pull BHS within one. He scored on another inside move the next time down the court following a beautiful pass from junior Heath Knight to put the Dogs up 31-30. The Eagles battled back again and had a slim 32-31 lead going into the final frame.
A Cosman free throw resulting from Flett's fifth foul to open the fourth quarter, followed by a three-foot bank shot by Knight and another Cosman bucket had the score knotted at 36-36 with 5:22 left. Cosman had one last shot in him and canned a five-footer with 3:57 left to provide the final two-point margin.
A flurry of steals, missed shots and turnovers resulted in no more scoring for either team. Wellsville got the ball back with 27 seconds left, worked for the final shot, missed it, but got the rebound and called time out with 8.4 seconds remaining. A last gasp shot missed and BHS controlled the rebound to seal the 38-36 win.
The victory moved BHS's record to 8-5 overall and 5-0 in Frontier League play. They played Gardner Tuesday night in a non-league game, but results weren't available by presstime.
Their next test will be Friday at Prairie View which will be a league game. Taul is hoping to avoid what almost caught up with his squad against Wellsville.
"We were playing not to lose and not to win. We've got to get over that," he said. "Right now we're whirling right along. I expect a good physical type game against Gardner.
"Friday we have a big test going to Prairie View," said Taul. "It's a league game, it's a long drive and a tough place to play. We beat them by 17 points last year, but they did some things that no one else did to us. If we don't go down there ready to play, it will be a long bus ride home."
Game time at Prairie View High School Friday is around 8 p.m. for the varsity. The freshmen boys play at 5 p.m. and the junior varsity plays at 6:30 p.m. Those games are at the LaCygne Middle School in LaCygne, which is in town a few miles east of the high school.
Overtime for underclassmen
Both the BHS junior varsity and freshmen teams went into overtime against Wellsville Friday. The BHS freshmen won 48-46, while the JV fell 64-58 in three overtimes.
In the JV game, the Bulldogs led 14-9 after the first quarter, 25-15 at halftime and 34-25 after three quarters. But, the wheels fell off with about three minutes left in the game and Wellsville sent it to overtime.
Both teams scored two points in the first overtime and nine in the second. BHS sophomore Eric Black hit a pair of long-distance 3-pointers to force the third overtime, where Wellsville outscored BHS 6-0 to take the win and drop the Bulldog's record to 3-4.
Sophomores Hugh Murphy and Eric Brown both had 12 points for BHS and Black added 11.
It was a different scenario in the freshmen game. BHS opened a 10-5 first quarter lead, but Wellsville using several sophomores rallied for a 24-22 halftime lead. The Eagles were up 33-32 after the third quarter, but BHS tied it at 41-41 in the fourth. The Bulldogs outscored the Eagles 7-5 in the extra frame to take the win.
Joe Gipp and Brian Lauridsen both had 16 points to lead BHS.
Score by quarters
Ben Cosman 8 9-12 25;
Tony Zuzzio, 5; Gaelen Mackie, 2; Hugh Murphy, 12; Eric Brown, 12; Eric Black, 11; Bo Donora, 4; Brett Myrick, 1; John D'Orvilliers, 3; Luke Tutschulte, 8.
Eric Jorgensen, 5; Joe Gipp, 16; Jordan Schaecher, 6; Brian Lauridsen, 16; Anthony Myrick, 4.