Second half pulls BHS through
After a slow first-half beginning, the Baldwin High School Bulldogs got the season off to a fast start Friday night by downing the Osawatomie Trojans 50-38 in the season opener here.
Osawatomie jumped out 11-7 in the first quarter and was up 20-17 at halftime. From there, it was all Baldwin as the 3-pointers started to fall and the layups, too, in the third quarter. It all paved the way to the start second-year head coach Jeff Haas was wanting a victory.
"Absolutely," Haas said of getting that first win. "We put a lot of importance on that first game. It's important for everyone to get off to a good start. It was a great win for us. We also found out a lot about ourselves."
Yes, there's plenty of room for improvement. BHS committed 18 turnovers and had just 11 assists. That's not what Haas wants. The Bulldogs also just barely won the battle of the boards, 31 rebounds to 30. That's not good enough, either.
But most of the bad numbers happened in that first half. The second half was a different story. When junior guard Andrew Hannon hit a layup, was fouled and converted the old-fashioned three-point play with 3:24 left in the third to tie it at 25-25, BHS was off and running.
A pair of steals, one by junior Micah Mason and the other by Hannon, netted a pair of layups in the final two minutes of the quarter to give BHS a 30-27 lead. Hannon then canned a 15-footer with 15 seconds left for a 32-27 lead and BHS was starting to take control.
To open the fourth frame, BHS senior guard Joe Gipp canned one of those 3-pointers and the race was on. In the next four minutes, BHS went on a 16-2 run that put the game away. There was a little bit of everything in there another Gipp 3-pointer, another jumper by Hannon and four layups. That gave BHS a 48-31 lead with three minutes left.
During that stretch, the sizable BHS crowd at the old junior high gym rocking. Haas believes that made a big difference.
"First of all, I thought one of the big factors was the crowd," Haas said. "It was phenomenal. I think we fed off that excitement. We took off, the crowd responded and they just fed off each other."
Of course it helped that the shots were falling. When that works, this year's team will have success, he said, but that's not always going to be the case.
"When we're clicking and the ball is dropping from the perimeter, especially at home, we're going to look good," said Haas. "I know there will be times when the perimeter shots aren't falling and we need to figure out what to do when that's happening.
"It was great to win," he said. "I didn't think it was too surprising. I was surprised that we turned the ball over a lot more than I expected. We haven't had a lot of time to get into the flow of everything."
Haas was referring to the lack of practice time for Gipp, who has had shoulder and ankle injuries, and senior Brian Lauridsen, who has been slowed by a knee injury. He said Friday's performance was a glimpse at what could be this year, but he knows there needs to be more.
"We are likely to be a slow cooking oven," said Haas. "We're going to be working on packaging four quarters together, no doubt about it. We want our starters on the floor at the end. That's essential."
The starters were on the floor at the end and for most of the second half. They were the only ones that scored. Hannon had a game-high 22 points and Gipp had 15. Mason had six points, Lauridsen five and senior Anthony Myrick two.
BHS opened with a 1-0 record. The Bulldogs now play this week in the Gardner Tournament, which will provide a much better indication of what the season will be like.
"We've got some big-time challenges coming up," Haas said.