BHS boys drain three-pointers in victory
Three-pointers and lay-ups helped propel the Baldwin High School boys' basketball team to its season-opening 72-50 victory over Santa Fe Trail at home Friday.
The Bulldogs began their season by blowing out SFT, which was without the use of 6-foot-9 senior Jake Carter, because of a foot injury.
"It was a great win for us, especially because it was at home," coach Heath Cooper said. "It was also a team that beat us by 11 last year. I think that shows the progression of the guys this year. It also helps that their big guy, Carter, was out. If he was in there, it would have made a difference for them."
Baldwin hit eight of the 16 three-pointers it attempted Friday night, including three to open the game.
Senior Jeremy Wright hit the first, but junior Blake Wieden followed with two three-pointers of his own in the first three minutes of the contest.
"They fell," Wright said. "That is something we are going to have to keep working on. Hopefully, we can rely on that a little more than last year."
Cooper said the long-range shots also helped bring SFT out of its zone defense, which it played in the first quarter.
"During practice, coach (Chad) Scoby said the biggest compliment we can get is if we pull them out of that zone," Cooper said. "We pulled them out of it really early, so that was a small victory there."
After the Bulldogs led the first quarter 19-13, SFT switched its defense to man-to-man in the second quarter. Baldwin opened the game up in the period, as it took a 41-23 lead into halftime.
Baldwin only expanded its lead by four points in the second half, before collecting the victory.
"We played phenomenal tonight," Cooper said. "I was really happy. This kind of gets the ball rolling. It is good to get the first one under your belt. It's really good to get the first game out of your way."
Senior Ryan Jorgensen enjoyed winning the game at home.
"It was really good, because we got a lot of momentum out of that game," Jorgensen said. "It was good at home, in front of our crowd, to show everybody that we can play this year."
Wright just liked how the team was able to play at home before January this year.
"It was good to have a home game," Wright said. "Our crowd was great. It was really exciting and good to get a home game in before break."
After the game, Cooper said he couldn't point out any particular player that stood out in his mind as best player, because the victory was a team effort.
"Tonight was truly a team win," Cooper said. "At practice, we have been talking about how we want we's not me's. Tonight was a we game."
Wright agreed about the game being a team win.
"It was an overall team effort," Wright said. "Everyone pitched in, played hard and got the job done."
Wieden led BHS with 18 points, while senior Aaron Hannon and Wright each added 12 for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs did commit 17 turnovers and 21 personal fouls, but Jorgensen thought the team limited its mistakes.
"If you ask a lot of people, it doesn't seem like we made a lot of mistakes," Jorgensen said. "We watched film and it seems we did everything the coaches asked of us."
Cooper also believes the Bulldogs are doing what the coaches are asking them to do.
"They are really buying into what we have done," Cooper said. "Defense is our focus this year. We were good with both our press and man-to-man, so I was really happy defensively."
Defense has become the focus for Baldwin this year, because last year it lost many games despite scoring numerous points.
"We were up tempo offensively last year, but defensively we didn't play that up tempo," Cooper said. "That was my fault. This year we want to do it on both ends. I think when we get our guys to play fast on defense and on offense, we could be really good."
The Bulldogs play in the third-place game of the Cardinal Invitational at 7 p.m. tonight against Bishop Ward. Then the Bulldogs won't play until Jan. 3 at Ottawa.