Second-half rally falls short for Bulldogs
LOUISBURG -- A late charge that saw the Bulldogs take the lead ended with a desperate three-pointer here Tuesday night.
The Baldwin High School boys' basketball team was unable to complete its rally against its Frontier League opponent. A last-second three-pointer by junior Dustin Schiller banked off the backboard as time ran out.
Baldwin (5-2) lost 53-50, ending its four-game winning streak.
"It was tough," senior Sam Scott said. "We battled back and were in position to tie the game and go into overtime. We were there, but we just didn't pull it out tonight."
BHS coach Eric Toot said the loss hurt because his team never gave up.
"It's disappointing when you play that hard and lose, so it does hurt," Toot said. "I was proud of how we fought back and I was proud of the effort we gave. As a coach, that's what's most important, but it doesn't make the losses any easier."
Down six points in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs rallied to take a one-point lead with less than two minutes remaining. Both teams exchanged buckets, but after Baldwin missed a shot, Louisburg took the lead back.
The Bulldogs were forced to foul six times as they only had one foul in the half. Louisburg knocked its free throws down, giving it a three-point lead with nine seconds left.
Baldwin attempted to feed senior Blake Wieden the ball for a last shot, but Wildcat defenders heavily covered him. Instead, Schiller took the shot that nearly tied the game.
"We felt like we had the momentum in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter when we pulled ahead," Scott said. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to pull it out."
There was one questionable moment late in the game. After the Wildcats went up by three points, both teams made substitutions.
Baldwin then tried to inbound the ball, but Louisburg was caught with six players on the floor. The sixth player was running off the court as the ball was thrown in, but no technical foul was called on the Wildcats.
The late confusion didn't change Toot's mind about the effort that his players gave as they battled back from a 13-point halftime deficit.
"It was pure defense and pure effort," Toot said. "These kids have big hearts and a great passion for the game and they kept battling. They believed they could come back and we did. We just didn't quite pull it out in the end there."
The Bulldogs trailed 33-20 at the break, after giving up 21 second-quarter points to the Wildcats.
"We were making stupid mistakes and they were capitalizing on them," Scott said.
Although the Bulldogs surrendered 21 points in the second quarter, they only allowed 20 in the second half, which pleased Toot.
"It was good except in the second quarter," Toot said of the Bulldogs' defense. "We had some breakdowns in the second quarter that cost us. But we were able to overcome it and take the lead in the fourth quarter. I was pleased with our defensive effort tonight."
Scott agreed with his coach.
"Defense was everything," Scott said. "We held them to 20 points in the second half. That definitely got us back in the game."
Scott scored 12 points in the loss, as junior Drew Berg led the Bulldogs with 14 of his own. Senior Andrew Madl contributed 11 points.
Baldwin shot 52 percent from the field on 16 of 31 shooting. BHS also hit 15 of 22 free throws, but also committed 17 turnovers.
"We did shoot the ball well, but we weren't very good in our half-court sets," Toot said. "Give them credit, they put a lot of pressure on us. That's the most pressure we've seen all year. At times, we just didn't handle it very well."
Baldwin will try to rebound with a home game against Santa Fe Trail Friday night.
"After a loss like this, you are ready to play as soon as you can," Toot said. "Hopefully, we will come out Friday at home and give another great effort. We'll take our chances."
The Bulldogs will play at 8 p.m. Friday in the Baldwin Junior High School gym.
"We'll have two tough practices then come back and hopefully win one at home," Scott said.