BHS bops Cards in dramatic fashion
A packed King and Queen of Courts crowd exploded into wild celebration here Friday night as Baldwin High School junior Joe Gipp hit a last-second layup that sealed a dramatic, come-from-behind 55-54 win over the Eudora Cardinals and sealed a complete six-game sweep.
As it turned out, whatever the Bulldogs wanted Friday night, they got from the Cardinals, who have been trying to claim rivalry status for several years despite BHS's natural inclination towards Wellsville. Maybe Friday's results should give the Cards reason to be careful what they wish for.
"It was a special night if you were a Baldwin fan," said Jeff Haas, BHS's first-year coach. "It was a magical night. Everyone did what they had to do, both for the boys and the girls, from the freshmen all the way up."
Gipp's gimme layup from a pass from sophomore Andrew Hannon sealed the deal on the sweep. As the King (Eric Black), Queen (Nicki Frerking), Prince (Dan Hamilton) and Princess (Anna Skaggs) looked on, a celebration never seen in the junior high gym erupted as the final nail in the evening's coffin was delivered for Eudora.
What helped it be so dramatic was Baldwin had no business winning the finale. The Bulldogs showed the rust from a 13-day layoff in the first half and were trailing 31-19 at halftime. They could have folded the tents, but they didn't.
"I told them at halftime we wouldn't get it all back at once, but we'd get it back," said Haas.
He proved to be right.
BHS chipped away at the lead in the third quarter and outscored the Cardinals 16-11. What keyed the run was a layup by senior Hugh Murphy, who was fouled and completed a three-point play just into the third quarter.
"Hugh's basket got us going," said Haas.
It brought BHS within four at 31-27. But, Eudora wasn't done ... yet. The Cardinals rebuilt a 10-point lead and were up 42-35 heading into the fourth quarter.
BHS junior Brian Lauridsen keyed another run with a pair of inside shots deep into the fourth quarter to pull the Bulldogs within four at 46-42 with 3:52 left. Eudora rebuilt an eight-point advantage with less than two minutes left and it still looked like gloom and doom for BHS.
But Gipp finally found his 3-point range and rattled one in to pull the Bulldogs within five at 50-45 with 1:39 left. The Bulldogs fouled the next time down the court and Eudora clutched at the free throw line, missing both. BHS then turned it over. But, sophomore Micah Mason came up with a steal and finished the layup to make it 50-47 with just 59 seconds left. BHS then fouled three straight times to put Eudora on the one-and-one line. This time the Cards converted to go back up 52-47.
Gipp canned another 3-pointer the next time down the court to make it 52-50, Eudora, with just 31 seconds left. BHS then came up with another steal but turned it over. Again, the Bulldogs fouled. Again, Eudora converted to make it 54-50 with only 24 second left.
This time down the court Hannon canned the 3-pointer with 16 seconds remaining. Another BHS foul put Eudora on the line to salt the game away. This time, the Cardinals choked.
BHS got the rebound, called time out and discussed options with just nine seconds left and trailing by one. A play was set, but it wasn't the one that won it. Instead, Hannon came down with the ball, a Eudora defender bit and Gipp headed for the basket. Hannon hit him with a perfect pass and the easy layup resulted for the crowd pleasing win.
"That was an improvisational play by the man with the ball and the cutter," said Haas. "It was something they came up with based on what the defender was doing. We've been coaching that for quite some time.
"Joe is the one player at this point in the season that is consistently looking for that," he said. "To see that work as a game-winner I hope will be an eye-opener for the others."
Haas is also hoping that the exciting win will serve as a corner turner for the team that's ridden a rollercoaster most of the season, playing a few good games and a few not so good.
"I certainly hope so. It seems like in a lot of ways the light bulbs have come on," said Haas. "I hope this has gotten us over the hump. Now we have to grow and go from here. Now we need to look for that elusive 32 minutes.
"We have developed into a second-half team," he said. "I'd rather be a second-half team than a first-half team, but I'd really prefer an entire game."
The Bulldogs have been in the come-back mode too many times this season. Until Friday, they hadn't had a lot of luck in making those come-backs successful.
"It was another come-back situation for us. We've been in that situation enough that I felt like we knew what we had to do," Haas said. "We deserved this one and we earned it.
"Being down only one with nine seconds left almost seemed easy," he said. "We didn't have to hit a three to tie it."
The victory evened BHS's record at 8-8. Hannon was the leading scorer with 23 points and Gipp had 16, 13 of which came in the second half.
Next up for BHS was a long road trip to Riley County High School Tuesday night. Results weren't available by press time. Riley County is new to the schedule and offered a tough Class 3A contest.
"Riley County is ranked No. 3 in Class 3A and will give us a good test," Haas said.