Bulldgos fall to Cards
It was another almost for the Baldwin High School Bulldogs Friday in a Valentine's Day bout with the Eudora Cardinals. In the end, hearts were broken as BHS fell 56-50.
BHS coach Jeff Haas was encouraged by the Bulldog's last outing, a 59-49 win over Prairie View, and with a week to prepare for the Eudora contest, he liked his chances. But, it didn't quite pan out the way he planned.
"It was an exciting game, a hard-fought league contest," said Haas. "We got beat on the back boards. That was the No. 1 thing before the game as our focus for winning.
'It didn't come together as I was hoping," he said. "Despite that, we gave ourselves a chance to win. When we went to fouling, I was still confident."
The game was close throughout. There was an 11-11 tie after the first quarter and BHS was up 24-18 just before halftime, only to have a defensive lapse that let Eudora close it within one at 24-23 at the buzzer.
"Despite getting beat on the boards we had a one-point lead at the break," said Haas. "It was a frustration because we could have had a larger lead if we would have communicated like I know we can.
"We had a couple of break downs off the bench about who was guarding who," he said. "That was uncharacteristic because we ordinarily talk a lot. A couple times down the court we let them score because of that. We want to get that shored up this week. We haven't done that in the past and we talked about it at halftime."
The second half was much like the first with both teams making runs and hitting 3-pointers to swap the lead back and forth. A layup by junior Andrew Hannon with 33 seconds left in the third quarter had BHS up 40-39, but Eudora countered just before the buzzer for a 41-40 lead.
Eudora started pulling away in the fourth frame and built several seven-point leads before the Bulldog press started shaving it closer. Junior guard Joe Gipp canned a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left to cut it to 51-50. That's as close as it would get, however, as the Cardinals put it away with six free throws down the stretch.
The late surge pleased Haas, but it wasn't enough.
"We are capable of getting a lot of points quickly," he said. "We can make things happen with our pressure, whether it's full court or half court. We weren't out of the Eudora game. We just need to take care of the things we're discussing, the key things."
Along with the rebounding and communication, Haas also felt the Bulldogs fell down in another area.
"The other thing I thought we could have done a better job of was transition offense," Haas said. "We didn't look for our secondary break. I'm not sure why we didn't do that because we talked about it. That was something we talked about doing going into the game.
"When you play these February league games, it's hard to find a way to score against a five-man set defense," he said. "If we get a missed shot going back against a man-to-man defense, we should be fast breaking and finding an open person. That being said, Eudora played well. They took care of the boards, which was the key to the game."
Eudora had a 30-21 advantage on the back boards. Hannon came up with a third of BHS's rebounds and all seven were defensive. He was also the leading scorer with a game-high 21 points. There was also a team number that Haas was pleased with which hasn't happened too many times this season.
"We did have more assists than turnovers, which is something we need to see more of," he said. "That's a good thing. We also know that Eudora isn't a turnover-creating team."
The loss dropped BHS's record to 5-12, while Eudora improved to 12-4. The Bulldogs were again idle Tuesday and square off against Spring Hill on the road Friday in another Frontier League bout with sub-state pairing implications.
"We know what we need to do to be successful against that team," said Haas. "This will be the fifth time we've played them since I've been here. We feel like we know what they'll try to do. They aren't a team that's full of surprises tactically. We know we'll have to play hard and win on the back boards like every time out there.
"We'll use each day this week to prepare for the foe and be ready," he said. "I think that's clearly the best way to approach each game against each specific opponent."