Bulldogs bounce back with easy victories
A pair of convincing victories was just the cure for the Baldwin High School boys' basketball team after its consecutive losses at Spring Hill and Eudora.
The Bulldogs (11-5) returned home last week to defeat Santa Fe Trail 63-50 Feb. 5 and Osawatomie 80-54 Friday night.
"Even though we won the last game, it was kind of a let down, because we didn't play very good defensively," junior Dustin Schiller said after Friday's victory. "This game was a really good win, because we pretty much dominated both halves."
Baldwin controlled the game from opening tip until the final whistle blew Friday. The game was never in question after the first four minutes.
"It was a great win," Schiller said. "We played well as a team. We moved the ball around really well and everybody was pushing the ball ahead, so I had a lot of options."
Friday was also King and Queen of Courts night at BHS. At halftime of the boys' game, seniors Andrew Madl and Blake Wieden were honored as king candidates.
"It was a really good night with all of the festivities going on," coach Eric Toot said. "The kids just came out and focused on the game to start with. We played great."
BHS jumped out to a 22-8 lead after the first quarter. Then the Bulldogs increased that to a 50-23 halftime score.
Instead of the usual halftime speech by Toot, the Bulldogs watched the King and Queen of Courts ceremony.
"The first half was really fun, because we took control of the game early," Schiller said. "We had a lot of steals and good plays."
Baldwin used its fast-break offense and steals to outscore the Trojans in the first half. The up-tempo style pleased Toot.
"I was absolutely excited, just based on our effort running the floor," Toot said. "If you can get kids to run the floor, it shows that they are playing hard. I thought we got away from it for about two or three games. When you have a point guard like Dustin, if you just get out and run, you are going to get layups. Our kids have gotten back to that."
Baldwin maintained its large lead in the second half, but only managed 13 points in the third quarter because of a three-minute period where it was held scoreless.
With a 31-point lead heading into the final quarter, Toot allowed his younger players a chance at varsity playing time. Junior Josh Beaulieu scored six points in the final period, while fellow junior Jesse Green added four. Sophomore Clad Kueffer also scored six points in the victory.
"Our young kids are really playing well," Toot said. "Clad Kueffer went from not being on varsity to getting in the rotation. I think that is just a good lesson for everybody in our program and young kids that are watching, that if you continue to work and improve, you will get your chance. He has taken advantage of it."
Kueffer also saw significant minutes in the Bulldogs' 63-50 win over Santa Fe Trail last week.
Once again, a strong start to the game helped propel BHS. A 9-0 lead early in the first quarter became a 25-21 advantage for Baldwin at halftime.
"I thought we came out strong, but hit a little lull and let them right back in it," Toot said. "We had some break downs. That's going to happen, but we can't let it affect our intensity. We have to keep playing hard."
By the middle of the third quarter, Baldwin maintained an 18-point lead, thanks to a trio of three-point shots.
The Chargers never got closer than 13 points as BHS went on to win the game.
"I thought we had a great start to the game," Toot said. "We went a little flat in the second quarter, but I challenged them at halftime to pick up their intensity. They sure did. I thought we played really well in the second half, especially on the defensive end."
One aspect of the game that impressed Toot was the Bulldogs' defense.
"We are to the point where we need to make a lot of our offense from our defense," Toot said. "We picked up the pressure and got on a little run. Dustin Schiller was great all night, both defensively and offensively. He was the leader tonight and he got it done."
Baldwin was scheduled to play Ottawa Tuesday, but the snow canceled school and moved the game to Wednesday night. The results of the game were unavailable at press time, but will be posted on the Signal's Web site at www.baldwincity.com.
BHS will next play at Kansas City Turner at 8 p.m. Friday. Then the Bulldogs will host De Soto on Tuesday at the same time.