Balanced play sends BHS past Wellsville
A victory over Wellsville is always sweet, but first-year head coach Jeff Haas was more pleased with the combination that clicked for his Baldwin High School Bulldogs in Friday's 68-45 whipping of the Eagles.
That combination was both inside and outside play. The Bulldogs have been plagued all season by games with one or the other option working, but the other one missing. Not so Friday as BHS had 32 points from its guards and 36 points from the post.
Now that's a balance Haas can live with.
"When you have both components, that's what happens," said Haas about the balance leading to the 23-point win. "That's been rare for us this season. We've had too many games where we've had the guards going, but not the posts and vice versa. But we had that Friday and when we do, we're pretty tough to beat."
BHS had a height advantage over Wellsville and used it. Senior post Eric Brown had 12 points to lead the big men.
"We wanted to be consistent and persistent about looking into the post," said Haas. "I thought we did that. We executed some things and did some things very well, like sharing the ball. That's nice to see."
Junior guard Joe Gipp topped the guards with 18 points. After Brown and Gipp, there was balance as all nine players scored.
"That was a treat," he said. "I'd like to see that happen more."
But, the game was far from a cake walk. A three-point play by sophomore guard Andrew Hannon was the only reason BHS was up 14-9 after the first quarter. As usual, Wellsville kept battling and the Bulldogs were only up 29-24 at halftime.
Baldwin High blew the game open in the third frame with a 19-9 run. It showed the balanced attack with eight points from inside and a pair of 3-pointers by Gipp, including the last shot of the quarter. That put BHS up 48-33 heading down the stretch.
The Bulldogs kept it up with a 20-12 advantage to gain the 23-point win and move their record to 6-8 on the season.
"We expected a challenge from Wellsville and they gave it to us," said Haas. "They were out rebounding us at the break."
That changed as seniors Eric Black and Hugh Murphy led the way with seven rebounds apiece.
"Eric Black was especially big for us with seven rebounds," he said. "We have sort of a three-guard lineup, but with him rebounding like that it's like having three big men."
Although the combination and balance had Haas pleased, it wasn't all favorable. BHS had 17 turnovers to 14 assists.
"We still didn't have more assists than turnovers, so that's a disappointment," said Haas. "Wellsville's style of play is part of that, but we still haven't cleared that hurdle.
"Sometimes a team trying make things happen will turn it over. I don't want to get hung up on that, but we've got to have more assists than turnovers," he said. "The starting three guards have closed the gap on that and they're all getting better."
Next up for the Bulldog's will be a road game at Prairie View Friday. That allows for a solid week of practice before an upcoming busy stretch. Haas hopes to use the opportunity to fine tune the Bulldogs.
"I'm looking at this as our last opportunity to put in any new things that we want to," he said. "After this week, it's going to be pretty hectic all the way to the finish line, where ever that finish line may be."