Bulldogs pick up win heading into BIT
By Jimmy Gillispie
Signal Sports Writer
After a week full of games, the Baldwin High School boys basketball team looks to take the momentum from its win Saturday over Riley County into the Baldwin Invitational Tournament this week.
"We are very much looking forward to the BIT, especially coming off of Saturday," coach Jeff Haas said. "We forced some turnovers and executed very well on Saturday. That should give our team a big lift here going into this tournament."
The Bulldogs traveled to Riley County on Saturday, fresh off a 47-70 loss to Gardner the night before. Baldwin left Riley County with a 59-53 victory.
"Well, I thought it went great, because we got a big win there with very much of a total team effort," Haas said. "Everybody really pitched in and every individual make big plays at some point in the game. We had a lot of poise down the stretch."
The first half was a close battle between the two teams, with Riley County building its lead to eight points during the second quarter. But Baldwin cut the lead to only five points at halftime, 24-19.
"In the first half, they ran a zone that's not real common here in the Frontier League, and we tended to stand around a little bit too much early," Haas said.
The third quarter was a very high scoring one, but at the cost of many fouls on both teams. Baldwin racked up nine fouls, while Riley County only totaled six for the quarter.
The Bulldogs gained their first lead of the game, 42-41, with nine seconds to go in the quarter on two free throws by senior Brad Ikenberry. But Riley County made one more free throw before the quarter ended, tying the game at 42-42.
"We talked about two or three things we wanted to do at halftime, and we really came out and did those things," Haas said.
The fourth quarter was very tight, until Riley County made a basket with 2:02 remaining, giving the host team a 53-50 lead. On the next trip down the court, junior Austin Inzer sank a 3-pointer to tie the game.
On the Bulldogs' next possession sophomore Jeremy Wright made another 3 to give Baldwin a 56-53 lead with only 1:00 remaining. Baldwin held Riley County scoreless the last 2:02 of the game, while it scored the final nine points to win the game 59-53.
"We came together as a team and made some shots and played good defense," Inzer said. "It was the first game in a while we played all four quarters."
Senior Micah Mason agreed with Inzer about how well the team played, but he said the team still made some mistakes.
"We still had a little bit of trouble with turnovers and rebounding," Mason said. "We got some offense going late in the fourth quarter. We came out with a big win. It was another confidence builder."
Haas also gives credit to the players, who went out and accomplished what they wanted to during the second half.
"We made some adjustments as the game went along," Haas said. "The kids did a great job of executing what we talked about at halftime. Our full court press was effective late in the game."
On Friday night, Baldwin traveled to Gardner, but left with a tough loss as it fell behind early and was never able to catch up.
"We played really hard, but we didn't execute very well," Haas said. "We didn't execute what we wanted and we let their pressure and team speed bother us. We never packed it in, we were playing really hard in that game."
Mason said the team was unable to put up any points or stop their opponent from scoring.
"We failed to put up an offense," Mason said. "The biggest problem we had was we couldn't stop their offense. They were shooting lights out."
On Jan. 13, Baldwin traveled to Osage City hoping for a win, but came away with a close loss, 47-42.
"We did a lot of things we wanted to do," Haas said. "We couldn't avoid having a bad taste left in our mouths about losing. I am not a doom and gloom guy."
The junior varsity team played two of the three games close, but was unable to walk away with a victory. The Bulldogs lost to Riley County 64-61, to Gardner 57-32 and to Osage City 43-36.
"We started the game in the same offensive slump that we have for the last couple of games," junior varsity coach Troy Webb said of the Riley County game. "We had our shots at the end, but just couldn't get it done."
The varsity team is playing in the BIT this week, and played Anderson County in the first round Tuesday night. The rest of the tournament is being played on Friday and Saturday.
"Right now we are playing our best basketball," Inzer said. "Hopefully, we can get some wins and boost our confidence."