Archive for Thursday, February 9, 2006

Column: BHS games at Spring Hill should be exciting

February 9, 2006

Although it means, I will have to take back-to-back trips to Spring Hill tonight and Friday, I wouldn't miss the Baldwin High School girls' and boys' basketball games against the Broncos, and neither should you.

Both varsity games promise to offer plenty of good basketball and a bit of a rivalry, more so on the girls' side.

Tonight's girls' game should be another classic battle between Baldwin and Spring Hill. The two teams have played 11 times in the past four years and the Broncos knocked the Bulldogs out of sub-state three straight years.

This game will actually be the first time the two teams have played each other since the Bulldogs exorcised their demons against the Broncos in sub-state last year.

Baldwin won the semifinal game 46-40 and celebrated like it was the NCAA Tournament. I have to admit, I was also very happy to see them beat the Broncos and get that monkey off their back, especially since Spring Hill had beaten Baldwin twice that last year already. I had witnessed a few of those defeats, many of which Baldwin should have won.

But that game was nearly 11 months ago and neither team has changed much since, except their records. Baldwin has improved from last year, by winning close games and hanging tough.

Spring Hill has almost gone in the opposite direction, as it is currently 7-8 on the season. The Broncos finished seventh in the Top Gun Tournament, despite being the No. 4 seed. They did crush Ottawa (No. 3) seed in the seventh place game.

I will say that Spring Hill took a fall last year, when their former coach, Bernie Smith, went back to Wellsville, where she attended high school, to coach. Smith was the coach that held the secret formula to beating Baldwin. But without that weapon, the Broncos have slowly declined.

They are still a solid team and have the potential to play really well. Meanwhile, Baldwin hasn't played great recently, especially in its last three games.

The Bulldogs have yet to find a rhythm offensively and have also been struggling at the free throw line. But they are a very tough bunch and will battle to the end with any team.

I am excited to see how this match-up will play out and how much the rivalry will impact each player. This is a big game for both teams and Baldwin better be ready for a fight.

While the girls' game will be a battle tonight, the boys' game Friday will be a shoot out.

The two teams met last year at Baldwin and the Broncos rolled over the Bulldogs 98-71. The Broncos had a chance to score 100 with a wide-open lay-up, but backed it out and ran the clock down.

I know I speak for myself, but there were quite a few people in the gym that night that wanted to see triple digits on the scoreboard.

I was disappointed that Spring Hill didn't score 100. Even BHS coach Heath Cooper told me he wanted to see 100, just because it's a rare sight in high school basketball, at least in this part of the country.

So, Baldwin has plenty of reason to be pumped up for the game. Another reason might be that the Broncos kept their press on Baldwin late into the fourth quarter, despite a huge lead.

That is just disrespectful as a coach and should give the opponent enough reason to win the next contest.

I would expect Friday's game to be a high-scoring affair, with both teams over 70 or 80 points. Baldwin has the motivation to win the game, because of last year and because it would be a big Frontier League victory.

But be aware Friday, if you blink, you might miss one team scoring a basket. So keep those eyes open and ready for an exciting game.

It might be comparable to an NBA match-up between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, with lots of offense and not much defense.

I hope this has convinced you to travel to Spring Hill for two straight nights, because the Broncos won't play six-game nights. I know I will be there watching two great games.

Go Bulldogs.

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