Bulldog seniors pave way past Prairie View
It was a Senior Recognition Night to remember for Baldwin High School's trio of soon-to-be graduates and the underclassmen joined in as the Bulldogs jelled solid for the first time this year in a 59-49 win over Prairie View Friday.
"I can't say enough about our three seniors," said coach Jeff Haas. "They stepped up on Senior Recognition Night. "It was a lot of fun. I feel like we've progressed for awhile now. We're gaining confidence since whe've had some success. That confidence comes from results. We're doing the right things."
Haas pointed to the numbers produced by the three seniors -- postmen Brian Lauridsen and Anthony Myrick and guard Joe Gipp -- and the two other starters, juniors Andrew Hannon and Micah Mason, as proof of the team reaching its long-anticipated showing of well-rounded play. The biggest showing was in rebounding against the league's best rebounding opponent.
"The big thing was the backboards. We had everyone of the starters big on the boards, led by one Anthony Myrick," Haas said of the 12-rebound night turned in by the 6-foot-3 post. "That's just a monster game."
Myrick also had eight points to go along with the rebounds. Lauridsen had seven points and seven boards. Gipp had 13 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists. Mason had eight rebounds and "just hustled all night like always," he said. Hannon topped the scoring with 19 points and he also had five assists and four rebounds.
"Those are some big numbers there," said Haas. "I believe that we will do that from here on out and I like that feeling. I think we're going to be very hard to beat and the players feel like that, too.
"I think a lot of that is just coming from gaining confidence," he said. "We think it's our time now. We've been through some real wars and I think we've figured out what we need to do."
A good sign of that came late in Friday's game. BHS took an early 14-7 lead in the first quarter. At halftime, the Bulldogs were up 25-19. Prairie View rallied in the third quarter for a 13-11 advantage and kept that up in the fourth to tie it at 40-40 with 4:46 left in the game.
But, BHS didn't fold. Instead the Bulldogs went on a 19-9 run down the stretch to seal the win. Myrick started the surge with a pair of free throws. Then it was board play and layups. First, Mason grabbed a rebound and hit the follow shot, Hannon to a Buffalo turnover in for a layup, then Myrick added another rebound and follow shot. Two BHS free throws later, the Bulldogs were up 51-44.
A Prairie View 3-pointer narrowed the margin, but four points each from Mason and Hannon jumped the advantage to 58-46 with just 39 seconds left. From there, Haas let the starters be acknowledged for their efforts and got some playing time in for the bench.
It was the third win in four games for BHS as the Bulldogs improved their record to 5-12 overall and 4-2 in Frontier League play. It was the last home game of the season for BHS, but there's plenty of league action left. The Bulldogs square off against Eudora Friday, Spring Hill a week later on Feb. 21 and close out the regular season at Louisburg Feb. 28.
"I think the main thing that's nice with what we've got going is the idea of one game at a time," said Haas. "I like our chances with four days to prepare. We can go over there and beat them in their gym. It's at their place and we're going to play with a lot of intensity over there. It's a big game."
Sub-state seedings are on the line, so all the games are that way now.
"They are all big now with sub-state pairings and Eudora is in our sub-state and a part of the mix," he said. "If we're anything like we were Friday, we're going to be tougher than nails. They had smoke coming out of their ears."