BHS boys take battle in the ‘barn’
OLATHE It was quite a week for the Baldwin High School boys. First they found themselves playing in an antiquated "barn" last Tuesday while playing Olathe Christian. Then they got winter-stormed out against Eudora Friday.
Friday's Frontier League game against Eudora fell victim to the snow and ice. It's unclear when it will be made up. Baldwin needs the win it would probably mean for sub-state pairings; Eudora doesn't need the loss it would probably mean. The game has to be made up by Tuesday in order to count towards sub-state. Eudora was dragging its heels about making that happen.
But, before that happened, BHS's Bulldogs had to take a step back in time during its road game to Olathe Christian. The game was played in Mid-America Nazarene College's old gym and old doesn't quite do it justice. It's a metal building with old roll up bleachers that the Bulldogs' grandparents were probably comfortable setting on back in their high school days.
Crackerbox was another term that came easily to mind and anyone who has played basketball in Baldwin Elementary School's gym (read that ancient with a capital A) knows what the floor was like. But, the Bulldogs shook off the cobwebs surrounding them and put a 63-40 beating on the Warriors.
"We got it in. It was a big win for us," said coach Bobby Taul, in reference to the all-important sub-state counting wins, especially in light of the Eudora situation that popped up a few days later.
"It was an entirely different environment than we're used to," Taul said of the gym. "It's got a lot of character. It definitely was an advantage to them. Everything is right on top of you."
Although the score might look like it, it wasn't all that easy of a win. The Bulldogs jumped out quick, building an 18-6 lead with strong inside play. At the end of the first quarter, BHS was up 18-9.
The Warriors made a game of it to open the second quarter, closing to 18-14 with an 18-footer and a 3-pointer. But, that's as close as it got. Seniors Ben Cosman (6-foot-4) and Heath Knight (6-5), along with 6-4 junior Eric Brown, keyed an inside storm with rebounds, follow shots and general domination that turned that back BHS's way by halftime, 40-23.
It was more of the same in the second half as BHS went on to the 23-point win. But, Olathe Christian never gave up and Taul used the Warrior's second quarter surge that pulled it within four as a reminder of the game a year ago. BHS was winning that one easily, only to see the Warriors come back and almost win.
"I reminded them of last year when we played them," said Taul. "We let them come back and catch up a little bit this year, but we put them away.
"We were able to take it inside," he said. "Ben did a good job, he had 15 rebounds. Heath had 17 points and 14 rebounds. We definitely controlled the boards on both ends. Eric Brown comes in and gets 14 points, all of them in the paint. He's really coming on for us. He's giving us some good play on the inside. I'm tickled with how he's playing."