Archive for Wednesday, March 15, 2000

Tourney time notes, quotes abound

March 15, 2000

Of course there are many reasons why the Baldwin High School Bulldogs made their first trip to the Class 4A State Tournament since 1981 last week in Salina.

There are the players, the coaches and the support all of them received. But, you've got to wonder about the James White factor.

White took over as the Baldwin School District superintendent in July and in his first year at the helm, the Bulldogs go to state. Nothing particularly remarkable about that.

But, where was Supt. White in 1981, the last time the Bulldogs advanced to state? He was principal at Baldwin Junior High.

Of course White is an avid basketball fan and he was a familiar sight at the various school basketball venues throughout the season. But, when reminded of the connection to 1981, he just laughed. He's not taking credit for the return to state.

Other tournament notes:

The BHS band went above and beyond the call of duty at tournament time, making the 360-mile round trip all three days. That's a "road trip" that seems to never end. But there weren't any complaints: "We had a lot of fun and I got a lot of stuff done, like homework," said Matt Noonan. "But was also played a ton of cards. It was great."

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  • The BHS faithful flocked to Salina. Crowds were good all three days and Friday's group was the largest. Purple was everywhere, as were the "dawg paws," and signs galore. My favorite went something like: "Turn out the lights, it's Knight time." Junior standout Heath Knight made believers out of the crowds and the sign was appropriate.

Mayor Stan Krysztof was on hand Friday and judging from the size of the Baldwin crowd I asked him if the last one out of town had turned out the lights.

"I hope so," Krysztof said.

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  • Another A-plus performance was turned in by the BHS cheerleaders. They kept spirits up, led the yelling and provided great stunts when play was stopped. It's not that easy, either, and after a long season of standing atop each other, etc., there are plenty of sore muscles and other ailments.

But, the girls never stopped. There's plenty of time to rest now.

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  • Of course there were the pommers, too, who put on several performances and added to the spirit with various purple costumes. They were an important part of the crowd, also, joining in on all the action.

The weekend wrapped up with the pommers joined by the cheerleaders for the "Spirit Squad," which performed at halftime of the boys' championship game.

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  • For many, the trip to Salina also brought hotel living. Baldwin residents took up lodging in various motels around Salina and there was plenty of interaction. We stayed at the Holidome (thanks to the Jeff West contention who canceled their rooms after the Bulldogs pulled the upset of the tourney against them) and what a zoo it was Friday night.

We had our own little Baldwin there and I'm sure that was the case at other motels. It's that state experience that everyone loves.

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  • Of course there were sour notes at the tourney, too. Friday's huge Baldwin crowd had to endure the P.A. announcer butcher the introduction by calling the team the "Baldwin Builders." A collective groan was emitted from the Baldwin contingent. If you believe in signs, that was one. BHS lost that semi-final game.

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  • Now there are no official statistics, but it's believed that Knight's slam dunk in the consolation championship against Scott City was the first of the tournament. Teammate Ben Cosman also provided a crowd-pleasing dunk.

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  • Part of the fun in traveling to and from Salina was spotting various Baldwin vehicle caravans. There were busses, school district vehicles and plenty of individuals. It was always a wave hello and "go Bulldogs" as one past the other.

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  • Baldwin businesses helped feed the hungry Bulldogs. Subway packed the team a cooler of sandwiches for the trip to Salina Thursday. Kansas State Bank treated the team to all they could eat at a Salina restaurant after Saturday's game. The team was hungry, too, after "surviving" on $4 per meal for a couple of days.

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  • Those sirens you heard Thursday morning and Saturday night were the Bulldogs leaving and returning. Baldwin school resource officer Mike Gammage provided both escorts, complete with lights and sirens. Gammage met the team at the Baldwin Junction and brought them into town in style Saturday night.

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  • BHS's biggest fan, Jim Johnson, was in the stands for all three days of the tournament. Johnson has been the scorekeeper for 50 years of Baldwin High basketball and got to see something he'd never seen a third-place finish at state by the boys.

"I thought it was pretty good for the way they started the season," said Johnson. "They picked it up Saturday. They wanted that trophy."

Like many others, he's expecting a trip to Salina again next year.

"I think we'll be back," he said.

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