Bulldogs drop sub-state semi
By Jeff Myrick
Baldwin City Signal Editor
After coming up with a huge upset in the opening round of sub-state play earlier in the week, the Baldwin High School Bulldogs saw the season come to a crashing halt with a 72-58 loss to Anderson County in the semifinal round Friday night.
In the opening round, BHS had beaten Spring Hill 71-70 in overtime. That was just 12 days after the Broncos had crushed BHS 91-68. But, there weren't any more upsets left in the Bulldogs.
Anderson County jumped out early, with a 20-13 first-quarter lead. That was extended to 39-22 at halftime. Anderson used the inside play of Eric Hermreck, who scored a game-high 29 points, to mount the lead.
"The ebb and flow of the Anderson County game was similar to the Louisburg game," said coach Jeff Haas. "They had an inside player with a great touch who shot well and a shooter who was hot in the first half.
"After watching the tape, we played better defensively than I thought at the time, but we had two glaring first-half mistakes which they made us pay for twice as good teams will," said Haas.
BHS didn't fold up the tents, however, and battled back in the second half. The Bulldogs cut into the lead, but Anderson County put the game away by hitting 14 of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter.
"We have fighters on our team and we fought until the finish, which I expected," he said. "It was a quality post-season experience again for us."
Senior Andrew Hannon again paced the Bulldogs with 21 points. Sophomore Jeremy Wright chipped in with 13 points and junior Austin Inzer added 10. The loss ended the season for BHS with a 9-13 overall record and a 5-4 Frontier League mark.
"I don't see how anyone who knows what our team went through this season could call our season anything but a success," said Haas. "To finish with a winning record in league play and secure a first round post-season victory on the road against a team with the reputation of Spring Hill -- it's something our people should always remember and cherish.
"The young guys need to use the experience as a motivational weapon," he said.
Baldwin High was dealt a blow in early January when they lost Hannon for 11 games with a broken hand. Instead of going in a tailspin, the team rallied to respond.
"Many thought we would fold up the tents when we lost Andy for half the year," said Haas. "Instead, we went 4-7 during that stretch and laid the foundation for the successes that were to follow. That is a true testament to the courage and perseverance of our players."
It was the final game for five senior Bulldogs. Those are Hannon, Micah Mason, B.T. Turk, Brad Ikenberry and John Stockdale. Haas said he will miss their contributions.
"There will be no replacing all of the qualities of our five seniors," he said. "The word special comes to mind when I think of what they have done for our program.
"On the bright side, there are only a couple of teams in the league that bring back as much experience as Baldwin will bring to the court next season," said Haas. "The key to the success of next season lies in the work ethic our players show between seasons both in the weight room and on the court."
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