BHS boys turn sloppy opening game into win
RICHMOND — All of the Baldwin High School boys’ basketball team’s points were scored by post players here Friday night — except eight.
A pair of junior guards scored those eight points. The remaining 45 were scored by four of the Bulldogs’ tallest players.
“Obviously, that’s our strength offensively,” coach Eric Toot said. “We not only have some big guys, we have some talented big guys. So it’s important that we understand that’s our strength. Our guards are unselfish and always get them the ball. For us to be successful, that’s what we are going to have to do. It’s no secret. Everybody knows that.”
While Central Heights might have known that fact, it was unable to slow the Bulldogs down Friday. The Bulldogs defeated the Vikings 53-42 to win their season-opening contest.
“It was definitely nice to get the win in our first game,” junior Justin Vander Tuig said. “We played a little sloppy at parts, but I thought the big thing was our effort for the entire game. You can correct those other things, but not your effort.”
Vander Tuig led the Bulldogs with 19 points Friday. Now in his third year of the varsity program, Vander Tuig, who stands at 6-foot-9, is fully aware he is one of the focal points of the offense.
“That’s generally coach Toot’s philosophy,” Vander Tuig said of getting the ball in the paint. “He wants to get the ball inside with the high-low offense. Of course, if you get the ball inside, it sets up the outside shooters, too.”
Most of the game, Baldwin tried to feed the post players early in the offensive set. That didn’t always happen as the Bulldogs committed numerous turnovers during the contest. They also made only 15 of 29 free throws, but Toot isn’t worried about a sloppy first game.
“I was really pleased with the effort,” Toot said. “That’s what we’ve been talking about since day one. We’ve really only had a couple of practices that I wasn’t really happy about. Overall, our effort has been great and it showed tonight.
“It was an ugly game,” Toot said. “As far as turnovers and missed free throws, we didn’t help ourselves. We can fix those things. We can’t fix effort. That comes from the kids and we have kids that are going to play hard. I’m very excited where we can go from here.”
Senior Zach Wright added 13 points from the bench. Senior Camdon Schwartz also scored 11 for the Bulldogs. Freshman Caleb Gaylord added two points. The guards to score were Kyle Pattrick (six) and Nate Growcock (two).
“Zach played really well tonight,” Toot said. “He was tough and strong inside. Their big guy was a bull inside. He was very strong. I thought our guys battled hard with him in a physical game.”
Despite the less-than-appealing game for a coach, Toot was thrilled to leave Central Heights with a win Friday.
“This is a tough place to play,” he said. “Some people think this is a small school and it is, but it’s a small school with a lot of tradition and good basketball players. The kids and I knew that coming in and we’re just happy to leave with a win.”