Bulldogs drop another
Adversity just won't go away for the Baldwin High School basketball squad. The Bulldogs experienced some more Friday, but still managed to force an overtime before falling to Anderson County 58-54.
BHS was trailing 24-21 at halftime and 40-32 at the end of the third quarter. Just two minutes into the final frame, senior guard Joe Gipp -- who had missed the last two games because of eligibility -- reinjured his ankle. Three minutes later, junior starting guard Edd Stansberry picked his fifth foul.
The double loss in the back court was especially tough on the Bulldogs because of the team's lack of depth. With those two gone, coach Jeff Haas put junior B.T. Turk, who was able to play for the first time this season after breaking his nose, into the lineup.
BHS had cut Anderson County's margin to two points, 46-42, with 3:31 left. Senior Brian Lauridsen led the run with five points. BHS cut the lead to one twice on free throws by junior guard Andrew Hannon. With just 47 seconds left and Anderson County up 52-49, junior Micah Mason scored three points, one on free throws after drawing a charge. That tied the game at 52 and that's how the fourth quarter ended after a last-gasp 3-point attempt by Hannon rimmed in-and-out.
That sent the game into overtime.
"It was an exciting game," said Haas. "I think there's a lot of reason for optimism coming out of the game, unfortunately it didn't include a win. We played hard and showed a lot of character in the last quarter. We turned it up when we had to and did it again under unfortunate circumstances.
"Losing Joe and Edd meant the tough circumstance when you have to put a kid in a mask in the game that hadn't practiced for more than three days," he said. "That being said, I think B.T. did well and can be someone that can help us out."
BHS was outscored 6-2 in overtime to absorb the loss. Anderson County hit six of 10 free throws for those points. BHS's lone overtime score came on a follow shot by senior Anthony Myrick that pulled BHS within two at 56-54 with 46 seconds left. Anderson County then hit its last two free throws to secure the win.
Still, Haas had reason for optimism from the game which left BHS with a 1-5 record.
"We drew four charges. We need to do that. I was encouraged to see four charges when we only have had one in the previous four games."
The Bulldogs also improved on the boards, but not quite enough, when they were out rebounded 28-27.
"That's almost, but not there," said Haas. "Bottom line is we've won every game when we've won the backboards."
He was also pleased with Lauridsen's 10 points, 13 rebounds and two drawn charges.
"On an individual note, I think Brian Lauridsen got himself going," said Haas. "He did a yeoman's job in there."
More than anything, though, he was pleased with the entire effort. The one bad note was from the 3-point line where BHS was unable to convert.
"We really battled. We gave ourselves a shot to win when we had been down most of the way," said Haas. "Sometimes the bounce doesn't go your way. We went 0-for-11 from 3-point land, but I've got confidence in our shooters. If we hit even a couple of those we win."
Hannon again led the way with 21 points. Lauridsen added his 10 and Gipp had eight before leaving the game. Haas expects Gipp to return to practice Monday, but there are no guarantees.
"We need to practice and need to have consistent practices with everyone together," he said.
Next action for the Bulldogs will be Jan. 3 at Ottawa, followed by another road trip to Paola Jan. 7. The first home game of the 2003 portion of the schedule is Jan. 14 against Osage City. The Bulldogs will have to be ready for all of them.
"Every time we step on the floor it's going to be a challenge," said Haas. "I think that's why we do what we do, because we like challenges."