Bulldogs blow out Buffs
With a highly anticipated match-up coming Friday against Spring Hill, the Baldwin High School boys' basketball team blew out Prairie View 82-42 at home Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs travel to Spring Hill Friday for a pivotal Frontier League game. Baldwin is 6-1 in league play, while Spring Hill is 4-2.
"It's going to be fun," senior John Brown said. "We both really run up and down the floor. Hopefully, we can come out aggressive and come out on top again."
Last year, the Broncos punished Baldwin 98-71 in Baldwin. The Broncos had a chance to score 100, but didn't shoot a lay-up.
Coach Heath Cooper is hoping his team will be ready for the game.
"If we can't get up for a team that scored 98 points against us last year, then I don't know if we can get up for any game," Cooper said. "It's going to be a great one on Friday night."
On Tuesday, the Bulldogs (11-4) beat the Buffalos (2-13) by jumping on them early and building their lead.
"Coach always stresses stepping on our opponent's throat," Brown said. "I think we really stepped up and did that tonight."
Cooper said his team knew Prairie View had a bad record, but didn't come out and play to their level.
"You can't fool these guys," Cooper said. "They knew that Prairie View isn't an upper echelon team, but they came in and took care of business. I am very proud of them."
"They could very easily come in and take a team like that lightly," Cooper said. "I thought they did a great job of putting them away early. That allowed some of our bench guys to play quite a bit tonight."
The Bulldogs only led 16-9 after the first quarter, but they opened that lead to 43-21 at halftime, thanks to Buffalo turnovers.
"We didn't want to come out flat," Brown said. "Coach was really trying to get us pumped up. Attack was the word of the game, and I think on both ends, we really did that."
Cooper was proud of how his team has learned to come out strong from the beginning and continually battle.
"I think we have turned a bit of a corner here," Cooper said. "We had our three-game losing streak and I think that was something we learned from. I think we are ready to play every night."
By the end of the third quarter, Baldwin's lead was wide open, as it led 63-26. Cooper emptied his bench at the start of the fourth quarter, allowing several players to gain valuable minutes.
Baldwin expanded its lead slightly in the fourth quarter as the players enjoyed the game.
"It was a lot of fun," Brown said. "It's always fun when you can get all of your bench players in. To come out and finish like we did, made it a good win."
Cooper said the score made the Bulldogs offense look better than it was, because it wasn't a great shooting night for Baldwin.
"To be honest, we didn't shoot it that well again," Cooper said. "Thirtytwo of 73 is way below 50 percent. If this team shoots 50 percent, I don't know who can beat them."
Brown said the team is still missing lay-ups, but they are working on that in practice.
"We still missed a few, but I think a couple new drills we are doing in practice are helping out," Brown said.
Baldwin sank 15 of 25 free throws and made 29 two-point field goals.
Senior Jeremy Wright led the Bulldogs with 16 points. Fellow senior James Hightree added 14 points, while grabbing a school-record 20 rebounds. Junior Andrew Madl and Brown each chipped in 10 points in the win.
One key statistic for the Baldwin coaches were chances, which is the number of field goals attempted added with the number of offensive rebounds. Cooper said Baldwin had 93 chances and held Prairie View to only 56. He also said that the Bulldogs will usually win if they have 60 or more chances.
On Friday, the Bulldogs hosted Anderson County and came away with a 62-46 victory.
"We played very good," Cooper said. "We had a great start. I thought they were intense. We have been working on taking the ball to the glass on offense and we did that. Defensively, I thought we were pretty good. They didn't score much."
Junior Sam Scott said the entire team played well Friday.
"I thought we played really well tonight," Scott said. "Everybody came out and played well. Everybody was excited and came out after it."
Baldwin took an early lead and built on that as it led 32-21 at halftime. Cooper really wanted his team to gain and keep an early lead.
"It was very important, because one thing I wanted to do was keep our crowd in the game," Cooper said of the early lead. "We did that. We really have a great crowd. We might have the best crowd in the Frontier League."
In the third quarter, Baldwin outscored its opponent 14-9 to expand its lead even further.
"At halftime, I was pretty confident, because I felt we were wearing them down a bit," Cooper said. "I also thought we were taking good shots against their zone."
Baldwin's press forced Anderson County into 17 turnovers, many of which came in the second half.
"It really turned on in the second half," Scott said of BHS's press. "We had a couple of really good runs. We were making easy buckets."
Cooper was proud of how Baldwin rebounded.
"Rebounding was huge, 42-16," Cooper said. "If you would have told me before the game we would have out rebounded them 42-16, I wouldn't have believed you. We were pretty dominant on the boards."
Baldwin is now riding a three-game winning streak, after it went on a three-game losing streak at the end of January.
"That was really tough to go through and hopefully we will get on a winning streak and ride that into sub-state," Scott said.
The Bulldogs next play at 8 p.m. Friday in Spring Hill. The freshman boys start at 5 p.m., while the junior varsity should begin at 6:30 p.m.