Baldwin boys’ season ends with overtime loss
The Baldwin boys basketball team’s season came to an end Tuesday with a 67-64 loss to Spring Hill in the first round of the 4A sub-state tournament.
Playing on its home court, the Bulldogs did not have a lead in the game until the 7:11 mark in the fourth quarter when sophomore Luke Fursman converted a traditional three-point play that briefly put BHS ahead, 53-52. Although that set up a back-and-forth game through the end of the contest, Spring Hill was able to maintain a four- to six-point buffer through the game’s first three periods.
Coach Dustin Leochner said the Bulldogs failed to match the intensity of Spring Hill in the first half.
“I told them at half time they were a step behind,” he said. “They were step behind getting to loose balls, a step behind getting offensive rebounds, a step behind on defense, a step behind running the offense.
“A lot of the good things we’ve been doing the past few games we let slip tonight.”
Leochner was particularly disappointed with the team’s performance on the offensive boards. Spring Hill had more than 10 offensive rebounds, he said.
The team’s lack of focus early was evident when it missed five layups to start the game, Leochner said.
Still, the Bulldogs did have chances to beat a team it defeated 72 to 53 just seven days earlier. The best opportunity came at the end of regulation after an illegal screen by the Broncos gave Baldwin the ball with the score tied, 61-61 and 47 seconds left on the clock. Baldwin put the ball in point guard Cornell Brown’s hands, first to kill most of the remaining time and then to let him create, as he had throughout the second half in which he scored 14 of his team-high 20 points. The sophomore once again beat his man to get in the lane but his shot was blocked by the Bronco big men.
Neither team scored in the four-minute overtime until Spring Hill’s Matt Smith made two free throws with 2:44 to play in overtime.
After Baldwin came up empty on its next possession, the Broncos were content to run clock with a 63-61 lead, forcing Baldwin to foul. However, the referees didn’t cooperate with the strategy, ignoring several foul attempts by Baldwin guard. As a result, Spring Hill was able to get the ball inside. In the wild scramble that followed, Baldwin big men blocked two shots before the ball went out of bounds off a Baldwin player with 51 seconds to play.
Baldwin would send Spring Hill’s Derek Bybee to the line three time in the next 32 seconds of the game. He was able to convert 4 of 6 free throws to keep Baldwin at bay, despite Brown’s three free throws during the same span.
Bybee’s last two free throws gave Spring Hill a 67-64 advantage with 18.7 seconds remaining. Brown and fellow sophomore guard Chad Berg both got up 3-pointers in an attempt to tie the game but were unable to convert.
On Thursday, the Bulldogs honored seniors Britton Schroeder, Alex Twombly, Tucker Brown and Clayton Duncan and their parents in pre-game ceremonies to mark the seniors final regular season home game.
However, De Soto got away form Baldwin behind its seniors Joey Johnson, 16 points, and Mason Wedel, 19 points. The visitors won, 45-39.
Baldwin finished the season 13-8.