BJHS eighth graders keep unbeaten mark
Baldwin Junior High School's unbeaten eighth graders saw something in Monday night's game against Wellsville they'd never seen before a 14-0 deficit. But, they rallied to win 61-32. The seventh graders didn't fare as well, falling 43-35.
Eighth-grade coach Aman Reaka tried a different starting lineup. The results weren't too favorable as BJHS fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter.
"We started a little different lineup tonight and offensively in the first quarter we struggled," said Reaka. "The second half was more our style of basketball and we managed to pull away."
BJHS answered with a 21-9 run in the second quarter, but still trailed 23-20 at halftime. A 21-2 third quarter put Baldwin firmly in command and the Bulldogs closed it out 18-7 in the fourth to secure the 29-point win.
Andrew Hannon scored 18 points, had five assists, four steals and three rebounds to be named top contributor. Jason Kesinger added 14 points and Kevin Miller 10. Micah Mason topped the rebounding with seven.
The victory, coupled with Thursday's big win over Louisburg, improved BJHS's overall record to 12-0 and the team's Frontier League mark to 7-0. Baldwin will play host to Nike Thursday and finish the season next week against Prairie View. The league title that eluded them last year is within the eighth grader's grasp this time around, thanks mostly to the 62-54 win last week against Louisburg.
"We have wanted that game for a year now," Reaka said of the win over Louisburg. "Last year we were 10-0 and Louisburg came into our house and knocked us off. The kids have used that game as a point of emphasis and motivation for a whole year."
Early foul trouble plagued the Bulldogs and they played to a 13-13 standoff in the first quarter. Led by Kesinger, who scored 17 first-half points, BJHS moved to a 32-22 halftime lead. Louisburg trimmed that back in the second half by two points, but that's as close as it got.
"We were in foul trouble early, but luckily Kesinger stepped up and carried us for the first half," he said. "In the second half we were able to hold them off with our defense."
Kesinger ended up with 22 points, six rebounds and two steals to be named top contributor. Hannon had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds and also added six steals to the cause. Mason had 10 point and seven rebounds. Brian Turk led the way in assists with five.
"We came out fired up and played hard the whole game," said Kesinger. "It just came down to who wanted it the most."
In the seventh-grade game Monday, BJHS was up 9-6 after the first quarter and had a 22-19 halftime lead. Wellsville used a 13-4 third quarter and an 11-9 advantage in the fourth to pull out the win. Baldwin had beaten Wellsville earlier in the season.
"Wellsville is a team that has really improved," said coach Dane Jorgensen. "We are a team in transition. If we get behind, the pressure builds on us and we make mistakes."
Robert Floersch had 10 points, six rebounds and an assist to be named top contributor. Ben Knoll and Kyle Ruona also chipped in with 10 points.
"We killed them the first time, but they persevered and are a ton better," said Austin Inzer, another BJHS player. "We need to do that now."
The seventh graders fell 34-28 to Louisburg Thursday. Zach Towns was the top contributor with nine points, seven rebounds and a steal.
"We played our 'A' game for three and a half quarters the best of the year," said Jorgensen. "The half quarter is what gets you. Our defensive intensity was the best ever. They were well coached."
"We played with our heads in the first three quarters, but couldn't pull it together for a win in the last quarter," said Floersch.
The seventh graders now stand 5-7 overall and 2-5 in league. They also play Nike Thursday.
In junior varsity play, the seventh graders lost to Louisburg and Wellsville. Dusty Schultz was the top contributor against Louisburg with four points off the bench. Against Wellsville, Brody Romstedt scored 15 points to be named top contributor. The JV also plays Nike Thursday.