Bulldogs drop second straight league contest
PAOLA — Baldwin High boys’ basketball team’s first game as a full squad wasn’t a success here Friday.
The Bulldogs welcomed junior Zach Wright to the floor with open arms. He made a solid debut, but the Bulldogs still fell short against their Frontier League opponent, losing 60-56.
“We’ve just had a problem all year of getting into a rhythm,” coach Eric Toot said. “Then when we get into foul trouble, it makes it worse. It seemed like we were battling up hill the whole way tonight.”
Wright scored 13 points to help the Bulldogs. Senior Brandon Tommer also scored 13 points in the loss. Tommer sparked a BHS rally in the third quarter by scoring seven of Baldwin’s first eight points in the second half. Three of those were a three-pointer to give BHS a 31-29 lead.
“Brandon stepped up and hit some big shots for us tonight,” Toot said. “We need to get to the point where we aren’t always coming from behind or need a big shot. We need to start to slowly pull away from teams. We have the capability to do it, but we just haven’t done it this year.”
Baldwin ended the third quarter trailing by four points. The Bulldogs were never able to gain the lead after that as the Panthers nailed their foul shots in the final quarter.
The two Frontier League schools combined to shoot 78 free throws, with each team missing 15 apiece. Paola made 27 of 42 while Baldwin sank 21 of 36.
“They did a great job of knocking down their free throws,” Toot said. “Their kids really stepped up. We didn’t want to foul number 10, but they did a nice job of getting him the ball. We didn’t have a choice but to foul him and he knocked them down. We did struggle at the line tonight. We just have to go up there, execute fundamentally and start knocking them down. We’re going to get fouled a lot, because we get the ball into the post a lot. We have to take advantage of that.”
Toot wasn’t pleased with his team’s rebounding efforts Friday.
“It’s something we just have to get better at,” Toot said of rebounding. “We should be one of the better rebounding teams in the state, but we just aren’t right now. There are no excuses for us to be getting beat on the boards like we did tonight. We’re just going to keep focusing on it in practice and hopefully it will turn around for us.”