BHS drubbed in tourney finale
EUDORA Baldwin High School's appearance in the Cardinal Invitational here last week had the taste of an old Clint Eastwood movie "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."
The Bulldogs were good in the tourney opening win over Kansas City Turner, they were bad (mostly because close shots didn't fall) in a 14-point loss to the No. 1 ranked team in Class 4A Spring Hill Tuesday, but they were flat ugly in a 65-47 loss to Kansas City Ward Thursday in the consolation finals.
"That's well put," said first-year coach Jeff Haas of the movie analogy. "Thursday was the worst. We looked like our feet were glued to the floor. We didn't make good passes, either. Turnovers killed us. That's where the game was won and lost, no doubt.
"I was really disappointed because I thought that's something we had worked on in practice," he said of making good passes.
BHS was besieged by turnovers 30 for the game, with 20 of those in the first half which put the Bulldogs in a hole. Ward went ahead 15-11 in the first quarter and used turnovers to go on a 17-7 run in the second frame to take a 32-18 halftime edge.
"Ward deserves a lot of the credit," said Haas. "Their press attacked our point guard, which wasn't what Spring Hill did with its press. Strategically, Ward went at him, which put a lot of people in positions they weren't used to. They were a lot quicker than us, too, and you can't simulate that in practice.
"Really, I thought the second quarter was where it snowballed on us," he said. "I thought we took care of that at halftime, but then they got the 3-point game going."
Yes, it even got worse. Ward's shooter started hitting the 3s and the rain just continued on BHS. Ward outscored the Bulldogs 23-17 in the third quarter. BHS rallied somewhat for a 12-10 edge in the fourth, but it was far from enough.
But, Haas isn't going to dwell on what happened in that game. The fourth-place finish in the tournament provided a good test for the Bulldogs and was a learning experience.
"This is a time for learning and we've learned from it," he said. "We did compete against Spring Hill and I was proud of that. At a time-out with three minutes left we were down by just nine and we weren't out of it. The kids didn't think that we were out of it and that's a good sign."
In the Spring Hill game, sophomore Andrew Hannon led the way with 15 points and senior post Eric Brown was right behind with 14. Against Ward, Hannon had 14 points, Brown 12 and senior post Hugh Murphy chipped in with 10.
The losses evened off BHS's record at 2-2 on the young season. The Bulldogs had an away game Tuesday at Topeka Hayden, where former BHS coach Bobby Taul is now coaching. Results weren't available by press time. On Friday, the Bulldogs will finally be at home for a 8 p.m. game against Anderson County.
Haas is optimistic about the season and thinks the turnover meltdown in the Ward game will get those uglies out of the way heading into this week.
"That's what I'm hoping," he said. "I thought the tournament was a good learning experience for us. I still feel good about what we can do. I know our team is smart enough to know what they need to do.
"This is the time of year for learning and improving," said Haas. "To me, Topeka Hayden is going to be tough in that environment. I expect a raucous environment. I'm looking forward to being in the home environment Friday, but I haven't looked that far ahead. For me, it's one game at a time."