BHS boys fall hard to Spring Hill
After Friday night's meltdown loss to Spring Hill, Baldwin High School's "home" Class 4A Sub-State Tournament isn't so secure. The Bulldogs could find themselves on the road for the first game of the Baldwin-based sub-state.
BHS's 59-54 loss to Spring Hill saddled the Dogs with five losses. Louisburg, Iola and Ottawa all have four losses. Burlington has six losses. Those five teams are in the running for the top four seeds. The top three will go to Louisburg, Iola and Ottawa because even if they lose their last games to equal BHS's five losses, Baldwin High doesn't have as many games and will lose out on a percentage basis.
That's the result of lost games to a bye in the Baldwin Invitational Tournament for the Bulldogs and the Eudora game being postponed until Saturday when it can't count towards sub-state pairings. That means BHS must have won its game Tuesday night at Osawatomie (results weren't available by press time) to grab the No. 4 seed.
A loss to Osawatomie and a win by Burlington would go against the Bulldogs, again because of the lack of games. With a loss, BHS would stand 11-6 and Burlington would have a better record.
"We really needed to win Friday night and we needed to win Tuesday," said coach Bobby Taul. "Definitely, the game Tuesday is a must win. If we win Tuesday night, we should be a three or four (seed), probably four. If we don't, we stand a good chance of being on the road."
Win or lose, BHS will play Burlington in the first round of sub-state Monday. Whether that's at home or at Burlington will be determined by Tuesday's outcome against Osawatomie. If BHS beat the Trojans, the Bulldogs host the Monday sub-state opener. If they lost, they travel to Burlington. The second and third round games Thursday and Saturday will be in Baldwin. The winner of Saturday's tournament final advances to the state tournament in Salina.
But, a return trip to Class 4A State for the Bulldogs is doubtful if they play like they did Friday against Spring Hill, especially down the stretch. The teams battled to a 17-17 standoff in the first quarter and it was still knotted at halftime, 29-29.
It started to unravel for BHS there. Just into the third quarter, BHS's Heath Knight blocked a shot and fouled the Spring Hill shooter. He was also whistled for a technical foul on the play. With four subsequent free throws and possession of the ball that resulted in a bucket, Spring Hill went up 36-29. On the next possession, a Spring Hill player was fouled attempting a 3-pointer and hit two of three free throws to put the Broncos up 38-29 with 5:41 left in the quarter. It didn't look good for BHS.
But, the Bulldogs then went on a roll. Freshman Andrew Hannon started the run with a layup at the 5:11 mark. Junior Eric Black did the same 25 seconds later. Then two straight steals and layups by Hannon, plus a free throw after one of them, tied it at 38-38 with 4:03 left.
After exchanging four missed shots, BHS took the lead with 1:44 left on an inside shot by senior postman Ben Cosman. That put the Bulldogs up 40-38 and the crowd was rocking. But, it didn't last. BHS didn't score the rest of the quarter, turning the ball over each time down the court. Spring Hill countered to regain the lead at 43-40 going into the fourth quarter.
BHS couldn't get closer than five points, the last time on a 3-pointer by Black with 49 seconds left that pulled the Dogs within 56-51. Black then forced a turnover and Cosman ended up with a follow shot that brought BHS within three at 56-53 with 23 seconds left.
That's as close as it got and Spring Hill salted it away at the free throw line, a place that was quite beneficial to the Broncs all night. They hit 21 of 32 free throws, while BHS hit just seven of 14. The Bulldogs had 22 field goals (three 3s) to Spring Hill's 18 (two 3s). Spring Hill had 13 of those free throws in the fourth quarter when they put the game away. Plus, BHS was beaten badly on the boards with only four offensive rebounds the entire game.
"To me, I go back and look at two main things that stick out," said Taul. "One is rebounding where we didn't do a good job offensively or defensively and two is free throws. The game was won on the line.
"I don't think we were more aggressive than they were. We weren't taking the ball to the hole. Basically, we were coming down and taking one shot," he said. "Ben getting two quick fouls didn't help. We had lots of one-on-one stuff going on. We weren't playing as a team. If we're going to play like that, our season will be over pretty quick."
He hopes the Bulldogs learned a lesson, especially about keeping their composure. After Tuesday's game at Osawatomie, the Bulldogs have road games Friday at Louisburg and Saturday's make-up game at Eudora (1 p.m. tip-off). Then it's the first round of sub-state on Monday, either at home or on the road.
"We've got to regroup," said Taul. "We've got to have some people start thinking more about the team and less about themselves. There are things that happened that shouldn't have happened.
"We've got a tough stretch," he said. "We play Friday night at Louisburg, Saturday at Eudora at 1 p.m., practice Sunday and play Monday. We've got a lot of games left. We've got to get back to where we were. We know where we need to get the ball to."