BHS boys survive OT scare from Wildcats
If momentum has anything to do with how a team performs in the postseason, the Baldwin High School boys' basketball team looks to be ready for sub-state Monday.
The Bulldogs (14-5) added three more wins to their record last week in preparation for Monday's contest against Tonganoxie at 7 p.m. in the Baldwin Junior High School gym.
"Even though we play again here next week, this was a good win with the crowd and the atmosphere," senior Blake Wieden said after Tuesday's one-point win over De Soto.
BHS defeated Ottawa 78-73, Kansas City Turner 64-52 and De Soto 54-53 during the past eight days. On Tuesday, BHS survived an overtime match with De Soto (3-15) to win the senior night game.
"It's just good to get out of here with a win, because we struggled all night," coach Eric Toot said. "One thing we never stopped doing was playing hard. We continued to battle and that's about the only reason we won tonight."
Wieden was thrilled to win his final regular season home game.
"It was tough, but we will take it," Wieden said. "We didn't come out and play the way we wanted to. I think we might have overlooked them a bit, but we won."
Baldwin turned a 10-point second quarter deficit into a tie at the end of the third quarter by finishing the period with a 12-2 run. Wieden scored eight of the 12 points, while fellow senior Andrew Madl added the other four.
With the game knotted at 36-36, both teams battled during the fourth quarter, but De Soto gained a 47-40 lead with 4:10 left.
"We just had to come out and take a few chances," Toot said. "We got a few breaks at the end there. We just stepped it up. Sometimes you have to play that way. I don't want to all of the time, because you get in foul trouble and you give up a lot of easy buckets. But at that point in the game, we had to take some chances and fortunately it worked out."
The Bulldogs' tenacious defense created a few Wildcat turnovers that became points for BHS. Baldwin held De Soto scoreless in the final four minutes of regulation and a layup by Madl tied the game with 49 seconds remaining. Neither team scored in the final seconds, forcing overtime.
"We started attacking and getting to the basket more," Wieden said. "We were settling for outside shots. We got them in foul trouble and were able to get to the line."
After each team exchanged two baskets, BHS senior Sam Scott knocked down one of two free throws to give BHS a one-point lead with 35 seconds left. De Soto then scored a layup with 15 seconds remaining to take a 53-52 lead.
On the Bulldogs' final possession, junior Drew Berg hit the game winning 8-foot jump shot. The ball sat on the rim for nearly a second before falling in the hoop, restarting all Baldwin fans' hearts.
"My heart stopped for a second," Wieden said. "I was hoping it was going in. It was a good feeling when it went in. I gave a little fist pump."
De Soto had 2.5 seconds left for a shot. The Wildcats threw up an attempt, but it missed. Baldwin survived to win the league game 54-53.
"I was really worried about this game coming in, because I knew we were going to have match-up problems with them," Toot said. "We struggled to get it going offensively all night."
Wieden led the way for Baldwin with 18 points. Madl added 13 while Scott contributed 10.
On Friday night, Baldwin traveled to Turner for a non-league game and came away with a 64-52 victory.
"I thought we played well for going on the road with not much of a crowd," Toot said. "We had to create our own intensity. For the most part in that game, I thought we were very solid."
Baldwin took a 32-24 lead into halftime and maintained the margin throughout the second half.
"We were in control for most of the game and we finished it off strongly," Toot said. "We did a nice job at the end of the fourth quarter holding on to our lead. I was pleased with the game."
Wieden again led the Bulldogs in scoring with 24 points. Berg dropped 17 in the game, while Scott added 12.
On Feb. 14, Baldwin hosted Ottawa in a rematch from the Baldwin Invitational semifinal game. Baldwin won the first game 60-52 despite only making 23 of 44 free throws.
BHS was also successful in the rematch as it won 78-73 to sweep the Cyclones this season.
"I am extremely excited about how we played tonight and how competitive we were for the entire game," Toot said last Wednesday. "When you play a team like that, they are going to have stretches where they make runs. We didn't get flustered and we kept battling. We played 32 minutes without any let downs."
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 6-0 lead and hardly looked back. They trailed twice in the third quarter, but never by more than two points. Other than those two instances, BHS led the rest of the game.
Berg scored the final points for Baldwin with free throws.
"It was nice to make some free throws," Berg said. "We struggled early in the year, but we are getting better."
Berg scored 15 points in the game, but it was Wieden leading Baldwin again. He put up 25 points. Madl and Scott also scored in double figures with 18 and 13 points, respectively.
Junior Dustin Schiller also racked up 13 assists in the win.
"It is a big win, because it was one of the last times we are going to be on our home court," Madl said. "We played really well and worked together as a team to get the win."
Baldwin will play its final regular season game at 8 tonight at Prairie View. Then BHS will host its first-round sub-state game against Tonganoxie at 7 p.m. Monday.