BIT action begins Tuesday
Baldwin High School’s boys’ basketball team may have a tougher road to winning its home tournament this year than it had a year ago.
The Bulldogs are the two-time defending champions of the Baldwin Invitational Tournament, which begins Tuesday at 4 p.m.
“We’re always excited about the BIT,” BHS coach Eric Toot said. “We always have that one circled on our calendar. So, hopefully, we’ll take care of business Friday and go into the BIT with some momentum. That’s what we’re looking forward to.”
The Bulldogs have drawn the No. 2 seed in the tournament and they will face No. 7 seed Bonner Springs at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. The winner of that game faces the winner of No. 3 seed Perry-Lecompton and No. 6 seed Anderson County. The second round of games will be played on Jan. 23.
“That’s very exciting,” Toot said of his seed. “It had been a while since we won it, so to win it two years in a row was pretty special. This is a different team, so I don’t get into defending titles because we have totally different players. It’s a chance for them to win a championship for themselves. Hopefully, we’ll have the opportunity to do that.”
Kansas City Christian has earned the top seed in the tournament. It will play Wellsville in the first round at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The winner of that game will play the winner of No. 4 seed Savannah (Mo.) and No. 5 seed Augusta.
Savannah, Bonner Springs and Perry-Lecompton are new teams to the tournament this year. They replaced Kansas City Turner, Topeka Cornerstone and Ottawa Christian from a year ago.
“We have some new teams this year,” BHS Activities Director Gary Stevanus said. “We have a couple of new local ones. We’re hoping they will bring new blood and new life to this tournament and make it very competitive. Hopefully, it will be a good week of competitive basketball games.”
Toot was happy to see some fresh faces in the tournament this year.
“Last year, we got into a situation where some teams dropped out and we had to go find some teams that probably weren’t up to the caliber we wanted,” Toot said. “We’ve replaced them this year with some very good basketball teams. It’s going to be an exciting tournament for all of the teams. You’re going to have to win three tough games to win the tournament.”
All of the games will be played in the Baldwin Junior High School gymnasium with all four games being played on the same day.
“The junior gym has a great atmosphere,” Stevanus said. “Since we’ve switched to playing everything over there, it kind of adds to the tournament atmosphere that we sometimes lost with playing in two gyms. It’s a long week, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s also nice to play in front of your home crowd, especially three times a week.”