Archive for Thursday, February 8, 2007

Bronco-bucked Bulldogs

February 8, 2007

SPRING HILL -- Back-to-back losses are never easy to cope with.

But, the manner in which the Baldwin High School boys' basketball team lost here Tuesday and at Eudora Friday made the defeats even harder to swallow.

The Bulldogs (9-5) fell victim to the Broncos 56-40 Tuesday and the Cardinals 47-46 Friday night.

"It was really disappointing, especially since we lost by one last week and then coming in tonight and not even really making it a game," senior Blake Wieden said. "We had a lack of focus and intensity. We were just flat and couldn't match their intensity."

This marks the first time Baldwin has lost two consecutive games all season. Although the contests were lost in different manners, each one left the Bulldogs stinging.

"These are our first back-to-back losses of the season," Wieden said. "Hopefully, we can just put it in the past and move on."

On Tuesday, the Bulldogs fell behind early and were never able to find a rhythm. Spring Hill used a 15-2 run to finish the second quarter with a 30-12 lead.

"We just came out really flat and didn't have the intensity we usually have," coach Eric Toot said. "Offensively, we weren't really in a flow and weren't aggressive enough. They were able to get a lot of blocked shots on us and get out in transition."

Baldwin began to rally in the second half, but couldn't get enough momentum to overcome the large deficit. In the fourth quarter, Toot emptied his bench and substituted five fresh players.

Junior Josh Beaulieu, sophomore Brandon Tommer and sophomore Clad Kueffer each sank a three-pointer in the final quarter.

"They did some good things," Toot said. "Our young guys are getting better and some of them are getting in the rotation a bit more, like Clad. They didn't do anything special, but they came in and were solid."

Toot also said the Bulldogs tried to come back during the second half, but they had dug themselves too big of a hole.

"Very few times are you going to be able to come back from an 18-point deficit against a team like that on their home floor," Toot said. "We did some things better in the second half, but it was by no means a great half."

Senior Blake Wieden was the only Bulldog to score in double figures as he totaled 12 points. Junior Drew Berg added nine points.

"We just didn't come out the way we wanted to," Kueffer said. "In the second half we played a little bit better, but we still need to come out with more intensity."

On Friday, the Bulldogs were locked in a defensive battle with rival Eudora for 32 minutes. BHS led by 11 points late in the game, but let its lead quickly slip away as it lost 47-46.

"We just didn't finish that game," Toot said. "I thought we played extremely well on the defensive end and did some good things offensively. We got the lead late in the fourth, but had some bad offensive possessions and they were able to hit some big shots."

Berg sank two free throws to give Baldwin a 43-32 lead with 5:20 left in the game. The Cardinals then finished the game with a 15-3 surge as BHS committed turnovers and only managed one field goal.

Eudora scored 13 straight points to gain a 45-43 lead with 41 seconds remaining. Then Berg drained a three-pointer with 27.6 seconds left in the game.

Eudora missed its layup but grabbed the offensive rebound and made the second shot. Baldwin had one last shot as Wieden threw up a three-pointer after nearly falling to the floor. The shot bounced off the front iron.

"I was happy with the kids pretty much throughout the game with their effort and how we played," Toot said. "We just didn't finish the game and did some questionable things in the last couple minutes."

BHS fell behind by five points in the third quarter, before scoring 11 of the next 13 points in the game. The Cardinals then finished the period on a 5-0 spurt to close Baldwin's lead to three points.

In the first half, neither team had much success offensively as they finished the first quarter 8-6. At halftime, Eudora led 18-16.

Baldwin hoped to bounce back from the back-to-back losses with a home game against Santa Fe Trail Wednesday night. The results were unavailable at press time. They will be available on-line at www.baldwincity.com.

Since winning the Baldwin Invitational Tournament on Jan. 20, the Bulldogs have only beat one Frontier League team, while falling to three others. The BHS players and coaches know what needs to be done to get back to their winning ways.

"The main thing is we need to get our focus back," Wieden said. "We are 1-3 after the BIT. We just need to finish the season, because there is a lot left."

Toot also wants to see his team play like it was three weeks ago.

"At this point, I want us to get back to the way were playing during the BIT with a lot of intensity and a lot of focus," Toot said. "We are struggling offensively making shots or free throws. Anytime you miss a free throw, it's like turning the ball over."

BHS will host Osawatomie at 8 p.m. Friday and Ottawa at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

"We don't have any time to feel sorry for ourselves," Toot said. "We have to bounce back (Wednesday) and try to get a win in our next two games at home. We play pretty well at home, but we're really struggling on the road. I guess that is one positive, but we need to learn to play on the road."

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