Bulldogs end season with loss at Louisburg
A strong first quarter by the Louisburg Wildcats doomed the Baldwin High School boys basketball team in its final game of the season, as the Bulldogs lost 83-65 Monday night in sub-state play.
"We just didn't have a lot of intensity coming out," coach Heath Cooper said. "We focused a lot this year on coming out strong and getting after it, and we didn't. I don't know if its the mentality with our team or if it's us not doing the job coaching. We can't trade buckets with this bunch; we've got to guard somebody."
Cooper said the Bulldogs had trouble defending Louisburg, no matter what defense they ran.
"We couldn't guard anybody," Cooper said. "It's been our Achilles heel all year. We have four or five different defenses we run, but honestly we haven't been consistent in any of them all year. We just have the inability to guard someone. Give credit to Louisburg, they are big and long and they're talented."
The Bulldogs fell behind quickly in Monday night's contest. They were only down 14-8 midway through the quarter, but Louisburg went on a 15-4 run to close the quarter.
"For the last game of our career, we could have come out stronger," senior Austin Inzer said. "That's just how it goes."
Baldwin made a run at the Wildcats in the first half of the second quarter. Sophomore Blake Wieden drained a three-pointer to make the score 38-28.
But Louisburg again closed the quarter strong with a 10-3 run. Baldwin went into halftime trailing 48-31.
"We came out a little slow and dug ourselves a pretty big hole," senior Chris Irick said. "Coach told us at halftime to go out and give it our all, play some defense and play one possession at a time."
The two teams battled in the third quarter, with Louisburg leading by as much as 19 at one time. But Baldwin closed the lead to 16 heading into the fourth quarter.
Baldwin was only able to cut the lead to 14 points in the fourth quarter. Baldwin's seniors off the bench came in to play in the final minutes in their final game.
Irick said he enjoyed his career at Baldwin.
"It was fun," Irick said. "I had a good time. I wanted to do better, but it was fun."
Junior Jeremy Wright led Baldwin with 18 points and seven rebounds. Irick and Wieden each contributed 12 points in the loss.
As a team, Baldwin shot 24 of 69 from the field and nine of 34 from behind the arc. Baldwin also committed 18 turnovers, but had 20 assists for the game.
Inzer said he was sad to see his career end, but he wouldn't change anything about his team.
"I'm still proud of every single person," Inzer said. "I wouldn't have had it any other way with any other teammates. It's been fun, but everything has to end."
Cooper said his first season has seen some ups and downs.
"We knew coming in that there would be some challenging times, and there were a lot of challenging times both on and off the court," Cooper said. "This is only going to make us better. We have laid the foundation."
The Bulldogs finished the season with a record of 7-14 and lose seniors for next year's team.
"If you look at it record wise, it's disappointing, but we've come a long ways since October," Cooper said. "Next year we hit the ground running. I think we return about 75 percent of our scoring and about 70 percent of our rebounding. We will hit the ground running."