Baker sports roundup
Sports season becomes busy...
The winter sports season is getting closer to the championship stage and the spring sports season starts up this week at Baker University.
The basketball teams host Lindenwood tonight in the Collins Center, with the women's game at 5:30 p.m. and the men's game at 7:30 p.m. Head coach Susan Decker will be honored between the games for becoming the career wins leader in women's basketball on Feb. 2. Both Baker teams are favored to win as teams fight for higher seeds in the Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament at the end of February.
Both Baker basketball teams have four conference games and one non-conference game remaining. After playing some of the toughest teams in the conference in the past two weeks, the Baker men will have a chance to play Lindenwood (10th in the conference standings) tonight and Graceland University (11th in the 11-team conference standings) at 4 p.m. Saturday in Lamoni, Iowa. The women have a better record than all of their remaining opponents and with 15 wins already are in position to tie or break the school record of 21 wins during the conference tournament.
The track teams split again this week, with part of the team attending the Prairie Wolf Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., on Friday to run on the banked Bob Devaney Sports Center Indoor Track. The majority of the team will compete at the Missouri Southern Invitational in Joplin, Mo., on Saturday. The Wildcats face the conference championship on Feb. 20-21 in Lamoni, Iowa.
The Baker cheer and dance teams will compete in the conference spirit squad championships Saturday in Canton, Mo. The conference recognized spirit squad as an official sport two years ago and the results of the championship have an equal effect on the conference All-Sports Award as the 18 other sports.
Baker's "boys of summer" open baseball season on Sunday by taking on Emporia State University in Emporia at 1 p.m. The tennis teams will play their season opener on Feb. 20 and the softball team hosts Allen County on Feb. 24.
Baker sports schedule
Basketball vs. Lindenwood at home, 5:30 / 7:30 p.m.
Indoor Track at Prairie Wolf Invitational in Lincoln, Neb.
Indoor Track at Missouri Southern Invitational in Joplin, Mo.
Spirit Squad at Heart of America Conference Championships in Canton, Mo.
Basketball vs. Graceland in Lamoni, Iowa, 2 / 4 p.m.
Baseball vs. Emporia State at Emporia, 1 p.m.
Basketball vs. Central Methodist in Fayette, Mo., 5:30 / 7:30 p.m.
Women's Basketball vs. Rockhurst in Kansas City, Mo., 7 p.m.
Men's Basketball vs. Haskell at home, 7:30 p.m.
Redeker, Flett leading men's team
Baker University junior forward Josh Flett and freshman guard Darin Redeker have been the stars of the week and will have an opportunity to shine again versus Lindenwood University at 7:30 tonight at the Collins Center in Baldwin City.
The Cats fell to Evangel University 86-73 Monday in Springfield, Mo., despite Flett scoring a season-high 25 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Senior point guard Brandon McDonnell added 13 points and had seven assists versus only two turnovers, and Redeker scored 12 points on four 3-pointers.
"Evangel was red hot early in the game with their first five shots being 3-pointers and they all went in," head coach Rick Weaver said.
Flett, in his first start since Jan. 5, tallied 16 points and 10 rebounds as his hometown celebrated Wellsville Night Saturday in Baldwin City as the Cats fell to Avila 67-56. The 10 rebounds were a season-high and the 16 points were the most Flett had scored since the season-opener on Nov. 1. Redeker lit up yet another defense with five 3-pointers and finished with 24 points.
In the past five games, Redeker has made 22 of 43 shots from behind the arc and averaged 15.4 points per game.
Tonight's game versus Lindenwood could turn into another shoot-out between two of the conference's top young guards in Redeker and Lion sophomore Justin Shrake. Shrake is leading the conference in scoring with 19.5 points per game and is also one of the top shooters with a 41-percent success rate behind the arc. He also leads the conference in 3-pointers made per game with 3.23.
However, Redeker's team won the last showdown between the two teams on Jan. 15 in St. Charles, Mo. Redeker and fellow freshman guard DJ Watkins combined for 42 points and nine 3-pointers in an exciting 81-80 victory. With 11 seconds remaining, Shrake banked in a 30-foot lob despite a foul and made the free throw to complete a four-point play and give the Lions an 80-79 lead. The Wildcats hurried back down the court and missed their initial shot, but senior center Pedro Dos Santos scored on his offensive rebound for the victory. Redeker finished with 26 points and six 3-pointers, and Shrake scored 29 points with five 3-pointers. McDonnell had nine assists.
"I'd expect it will be a competitive game again," Weaver said. "Like us, they are a fairly young team. They have some good size with a 6-foot-11-inch player at the post."
'Cats seek redemption tonight versus Lindenwood
The Baker University womens basketball team will get a chance to avenge two losses at once when it hosts Lindenwood University at 5:30 p.m. tonight in the Collins Center.
The Wildcats suffered a 69-68 loss to the Lions on Jan. 15 in St. Charles, Mo., on a difficult shot late in the game, and Evangel University broke Baker's three-game winning streak Monday in Springfield, Mo.
Baker nearly had Lindenwood defeated in the last match-up as the Wildcats broke up the Lions' initial in-bounds play, but the Lions' Crystal Barz made the most of a second chance by hitting a 3-pointer from deep in the corner with four seconds remaining despite a tight defense. It was Barz' fourth 3-pointer of the game.
Head coach Susan Decker, Baker's career wins leader since picking up her 66th victory on Feb. 5, said the key to beating Lindenwood this time will be better defense.
"They shoot the ball well outside, and they have a good post," Decker said.
Junior guard Courtney Hodges, a regular starter and a key defensive stopper, is out for the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury on Jan. 29 versus MidAmerica Nazarene University. Her replacement, sophomore Ashley Ohlman, has become the Cats leading scorer with 50 points in the four games since the injury.
Ohlman led the team in points and rebounds Monday as Baker fell to No. 8 Evangel University 70-53 in Springfield, Mo. The Cats held a 33-32 halftime lead against the Crusaders, who remain undefeated in the Heart of America Athletic Conference after 16 games. Ohlman compiled 14 points and five rebounds and junior center Jessica Pontious added 11 points. Sophomore guard Dana Schmidt came off the bench to have a perfect shooting night and score eight points.
"We played very well in the first half, but Evangel turned up the defensive pressure in the second half and the momentum turned the other way," Decker said. "They are a very good team."
Junior point guard Erin Robinson was the star of a 78-74 overtime win with 20 points against Avila University Saturday in Baldwin City, and was especially impressive during the overtime when she scored 10 of Baker's 16 points. Ohlman added 11 points and 10 rebounds.
"I was pleased with how we stuck together," Decker said. "It was a game we needed to win and we showed character in coming back."
Veteran-newcomer mix spurs
Baker at Mule Relays
A combination of returning national qualifiers and new additions for Baker University track compiled four Top 10 finishes at the Mule Relays Friday and Saturday in Warrensburg, Mo.
The meet, hosted by Central Missouri State University on a 200-meter track with womens events on Friday and mens events on Saturday, featured 18 NCAA Div. II, NAIA and junior college teams.
Senior Matt Hallauer, a national qualifier in outdoor track last season, was the highest placer for Baker with his time of 15:59.08 taking seventh in the 5,000-meter run.
Sophomore Brett Weir, another national qualifier last season, was tied for seventh in the 60-meter hurdles with an 8.54 time during preliminaries and finished eighth in finals with an 8.61. He broke his own school record of 8.58 he set in his first race as a freshman.
Sophomore Aaron Wright also broke a school record with his time of 7.33-seconds in the 60-meter dash, breaking Matt Neal's 2001 mark of 7.42.
"With improved technical profiency, he will be looking to lower that time again this week," head coach Rob Mallinder said.
Randle placed eighth in the triple jump with a leap of 44-feet, 4.25-inches. Randle also placed 13th in the long jump with a leap of 20-10.25. Both are the best marks by a Wildcat this season, and his triple jump performance provisionally qualified him for the NAIA National Championships.
"When we get outside, we should see exciting performances from Brent," Mallinder said.
Freshman Marty Johnston placed 15th in the 800-meter run with at time of 2:02.93 and freshman Ryan Gardner of Chillocothe, Mo., led the Wildcats in the shot put with a toss of 41-10.5.
"Marty Johnston ran an impressive 800-meters," despite weather conditions hampering training, Mallinder said. "Once the weather picks up and he is able to train like a middle distance athlete we should see an impressive freshman campaign."
On the womens side, newcomers Becki Cargo, Jana Collins and LaTasha Roberts proved their performances in the season opener were no flukes with additional impressive performances at the Mule Relays.
Cargo, a senior running track for the first time after four years of soccer, had the highest finish of the day for Baker by placing ninth in the 600-yard run with a time of 1:36.73.
Roberts, a freshman, placed 19th in the 60-meter dash against 47 other competitors with a time of 8.36 and also ran a 28.74 in the 200-meter dash. Collins, a junior college transfer, edged Roberts in the 200-meter dash with a time of 28.30 and placed 15th in the 400-meter dash with a time of 14:04.43.
Weir competed again on Sunday at the MidMissouri Pentathlon in Marshall, Mo. Mallinder said Weir made "key" improvements in many of the events, including a personal record in the 55-meter hurdles, but was unable to top his best pentathlon score due to a subpar performance in the long jump.
This week, Mallinder will send part of his team to the Prairie Wolf Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., on Friday and the rest of the team to the Missouri Southern Invitational in Joplin, Mo., on Saturday. The Heart of America Athletic Conference Championships will be held Feb. 20-21 in Lamoni, Iowa.