BJHS eighth graders wrap up league title
It was a thriller, but the Baldwin Junior High School eighth graders pulled out a 44-41 victory over Nike Thursday to clinch the Frontier League title they came so close to last year.
It wasn't decided until the very end after Nike pulled close with a 3-point shot. But, BJHS iced it with free throws to remain unbeaten in league at 8-0 and overall at 13-0. They close out the season with a home game against Prairie View Thursday.
"Wow, what an amazing basketball game," said coach Aman Reaka. "This game was filled with adversity. The first half both teams were pretty hot and the second half neither could buy a basket."
Baldwin was up 16-14 after the first quarter and 28-23 at halftime. Nike rallied 11-8 in the third frame, but BJHS closed it out 8-7 down the stretch.
Andrew Hannon had 16 points, three rebounds, three steals and three assists to be named top contributor. Jason Kesinger was right behind with 14 points and five rebounds and Micah Mason had 10 points and five boards. Brian Turk had a team-high seven assists.
"Nike played great defense and took us to the wire," said Reaka. "They really forced us to make the plays and shoot the free throws to win the game.
"I want the community to come out on Thursday night and offer some support to these kids," he said. "It has been a great year. These kids have worked very hard and held their goal of undefeated very high all season long. We have a tough game against Prairie View to finish off a wonderful season, so come cheer the team on."
Game time in the BJHS gym should be around 6 p.m. Prior to that, the seventh graders play at 5 p.m.
The seventh graders fell to Nike 54-35, despite 20 points, four steals, a rebound and an assist from Ben Knoll, who was named top contributor.
"We had nothing to lose," said coach Dane Jorgensen. "We gave them our best shot and Nike persevered. Our defensive intensity was the highest ever in the first half. Our guys played with their hearts on their sleeves. We were rewarded by competing against a tough opponent."
The loss dropped the seventh grader's record to 5-8 overall and 2-6 in league. In the junior varsity contest, Nike won 26-21. Josh Kohn was BJHS's top contributor with six points.