BHS had to beat Louisburg first
Before the Baldwin High School Bulldogs could win Saturday's sub-state final over Santa Fe Trail, they had to take care of one other chore beating Louisburg in the semi-finals.
BHS did that 55-40 Friday night in Burlington, but it wasn't as easy as the score indicates. The Bulldogs trailed 23-19 at halftime, but rallied behind some timely 3-point shooting from Joe Kivett, Colin Barker and Heath Knight and free throw heroics by Ben Cosman.
Kivett opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer and Knight followed that with a 3-pointer of his own at the 5:32 mark. After Knight tied it up at 28-28 with a follow shot, Hugh Murphy put BHS up for good at 30-28 with 2:41 left with a pair of free throws. About a minute later, Barker drained his 3 for a 33-28 lead which sent the momentum decidedly in BHS's favor.
"The key in Friday's game was when Colin hit the 3," said coach Bobby Taul. "That was huge."
Louisburg immediately called time out to try and stop BHS's run, but it didn't work. Cosman nailed a pair of free throws to close the quarter and put the Bulldogs up 35-28 heading into the stretch.
It was also a sign of what was to come in the fourth quarter. After Knight hit an 8-footer and Barker canned an 18-footer in the early minutes of the fourth frame, Cosman took over from the line.
The 6-foot-4 junior hit 10 of 12 free throws as the Baldwin High lead grew as high as 21 points as the Bulldogs coasted to the win and a spot in the Class 4A sub-state finals.
Cosman led the way in scoring with 18 points, all but four of which came from the free throw line. Knight was close behind with 17 points. Kivett had seven points, including two big 3s.
The outside shooting and free throws would turn out to just as big in Saturday's title winning performance against Santa Fe Trail.