Archive for Thursday, January 27, 2005

Column - Boys basketball tourney fun to watch

January 27, 2005

In case you missed it, this year's Baldwin Invitational Tournament provided the crowd with exciting games and amazing shots.

The tourney gave the audience many highlight plays and good basketball teams. When it comes to high school basketball games, there are always upsets, and the 2005 BIT was no exception.

Ottawa, which has won the BIT three out of the last four years and placed second the other year, finished seventh in the tourney after losses to Augusta and Mill Valley.

Mill Valley, seeded No. 1, finished fifth, while Baldwin, seeded No. 5, placed third. The Bulldogs upset Anderson County in the first round, and Mill Valley fell to a much improved Turner team in the first round.

But after the first round, it was pretty clear Lincoln Prep was the best team in the tourney. The Tigers are tall, big, athletic and can just shoot the ball very well. I was told they have three players going to Division I schools next year. That's not too shabby. And their three players that made all-tournament team are juniors.

There were also very exciting games, particularly on Friday night, when three of the four games went into overtime. The overtime game I saw that night was the Augusta versus Turner game.

The two teams were close the whole way, and Augusta had to hit two free throws at the end of regulation to send it to overtime. The foul was called as time ran out, so junior Joe Habiger stepped up to the line alone and sank two free throws with a rowdy Turner crowd making as much noise as possible. Then Augusta hit two more free throws in overtime with 0.1 second left to win the game 57-56.

The other overtime games were in the consolation bracket as Mill Valley edged out Ottawa 63-61 and Anderson County clipped Wellsville 51-46.

But the tourney also feature some great highlight shots, including the craziest shot I have ever seen. It was the first round game of Mill Valley and Turner. The third quarter was a few seconds away from being over, when Turner stole the ball and tipped it toward Turner senior Aaron Jackson. He jumped in the air tipped a ball over his head toward the goal behind him. The shot hit nothing but net and erupted the crowd as the clock ran out. It was simply ridiculous and is one of the craziest shots ever.

The tourney also allowed the crowd to witness a few alley-oop dunks. Lincoln Prep tossed up a couple during its rout of Baldwin. The Tigers also had some big shot blocks that sent the ball into the stands. They were just a fun team to watch, even though they pounded the Bulldogs.

Speaking of Baldwin, this tourney might have been a coming out party for them. The Bulldogs picked up two big wins against Anderson County and Turner to win third place. It was the first time in four years Baldwin has received medals at the BIT.

The team is starting to play very well and make smart decisions at smart times. So, just maybe the BIT will help Baldwin finish the season strong and pick up a few more wins.

I hope you did get a chance to come watch the BIT, because it was worth your time and money. In a high school tournament, you see overtime games, great players, highlight reel shots, dunks and crazy fans. What more can you ask for?

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