Bulldogs win season opener
Friday's opening basketball game between Baldwin High School and Osawatomie looked like just that -- the season opener, which is always a little rough.
But, BHS's Bulldogs used a strong second half to walk away with a 58-44 win over the Trojans to kick off the new season in fine style. Mostly, though, it was second-half defense that made the difference for BHS.
"For a season opener, it was a decent defensive effort in my view," said coach Jeff Haas. "We won the war on the boards by a slim margin and, perhaps more significantly, had more assists than turnovers as a team which is a sign of maturity.
"Our defensive recognition in the press isn't where it needs to be yet, but we will improve in that area," said Haas. "We held our opponent to 15 points in the second half, which is impressive."
Along with the defense, BHS had enough offense to hammer out the win. Six-foot senior Andrew Hannon, a main-stay All-Frontier League performer, led the way with 20 points and also had six rebounds. Joining him in double digits was senior post Brad Ikenberry who had 11 points and also led the way in rebounding with seven.
The Bulldogs had success at the three-point stripe, hitting five of nine. Junior Ben Knoll was two-for-two, sophomore Jeremy Wright was two-for-four and Hannon was one-for-two. Knoll ended up with eight points and Wright six.
The winning streak didn't last long, however, as BHS was beaten 60-43 by Topeka Highland Park in the first round of the Cardinal Invitational Tournament in Eudora. Highland Park is the No. 1-ranked team in Class 5A
The Bulldogs stayed close behind the scoring of Hannon and Knoll. They trailed by only four points with three minutes left in the first half and only trailed 31-24 at halftime. BHS stayed close in the third quarter and was only down by nine points. But, the Scots used a 12-4 surge in the fourth quarter to nail down the win.
Hannon had a game-high 17 points and Knoll added a dozen.
"Our guys really competed Monday night against one of the most athletic teams in the state at any level," said Haas. "We settled down after facing an early deficit and stayed within striking distance down to about the last three minutes.
"We learned that we need to improve our passing, pivoting, and cutting offensively. We also missed several blockouts defensively which Highland Park will make you pay for," he said. "Having said that, we are just getting started and we will continue to improve each week."
The loss dropped the Bulldogs into the sunshine bracket where they played Kansas City Ward Tuesday. Results of that game weren't available by press time. If they won, they play at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. If they lost, they play at 4 p.m. Thursday.