BHS boys advance to rematch with Cyclones
In a first round where three games were decided by a total of seven points, the Baldwin High School boys' basketball team survived to advance to the semifinal round of the Baldwin Invitational Tournament.
The Bulldogs defeated Kansas City Christian 60-56 Tuesday night in the Baldwin Junior High School gym.
"Survive and advance, that is what that game was about," BHS coach Heath Cooper said. "We had them down, then let them back in it. We gutted it out, kind of like Friday night."
Now Baldwin is scheduled for a rematch of its 82-79 double overtime victory over Ottawa on Jan. 3. The Bulldogs and Cyclones play at 7 p.m. Friday night.
"It's going to be a great one," Cooper said. "I can't wait. I don't have to do much to get our team ready. If you can't get up for this one, you aren't human."
On Tuesday, the Bulldogs and Panthers battled it out in a down-to-the-wire contest to open the tournament.
KC Christian led 10-5 early, but Baldwin came back to tie the game at 14-14 at the end of the first quarter. With the game still tied at 20-20, Baldwin went on an 8-0 run to close out the first half and take a 28-20 lead into halftime.
Baldwin opened its lead to 48-36 after the third quarter.
"I thought we played good for about two quarters, but the other two weren't very good," Cooper said. "They slowed the pace down and took us out of what we wanted to do in the fourth quarter."
The Panthers began the fourth quarter in a zone defense, which created problems for the Bulldogs. With 2:15 left in the game, the Panthers led 52-50 after making a 16-2 run.
Baldwin answered back with a quick 5-0 run and held on to its lead with some late free throws from seniors James Hightree and Aaron Hannon.
Hightree led the Bulldogs with 23 points. Sophomore Drew Berg added 17 of his own, while senior Ryan Jorgensen scored 10 points.
"It feels good to advance," Berg said. "That was our goal for the night. We didn't box out very well, so they got a lot of offensive rebounds."
Cooper said rebounding was the Bulldogs' main problem Tuesday night.
"We weren't getting any bodies," Cooper said. "It seemed like three guys would and two guys wouldn't. We struggled tonight."
Hightree said he was glad to get the win, but now the team must focus on Ottawa.
"It feels awesome," Hightree said. "We need to forget about this game and go on to Ottawa."
The Cyclones crushed Anderson County 87-48 in their first-round game. In Friday's game, the Cyclones will have junior Victor Ojeleye, who missed the Jan. 3 game against Baldwin.
Both first-round games in Baldwin High School were decided by two points or less. In the first game, Wellsville hit a shot with two seconds left in the game to take a 52-51 lead over Augusta. The Eagles hung on to advance to play Mill Valley.
The Jaguars also hung on to beat Kansas City Turner 56-54, and will meet Wellsville at 8:30 p.m. Friday in the BJHS gym.
All games Friday will take place in the BJHS gym. The first game will feature KC Christian and Anderson County and will begin at 4 p.m. Then Augusta and Turner will play at 5:30 p.m. Baldwin and Ottawa will follow, with the final game beginning at 8:30 p.m.
The final round of the tournament will start at 1 p.m. Saturday. The third place game will begin at 4:30 p.m., with the championship starting at 6 p.m.