De Soto ends Baldwin boys five-game win streak
De Soto won the contest between two hot teams as the Wildcats and Baldwin returned to Frontier League play.
De Soto, owners of a four-game winning streak that counted defending 4A state champion Basehor-Linwood among the victims, downed Baldwin, 58-49, giving the Bulldogs their first loss in six games. The game marked the return to league play for both teams after two-week mid-season break for tournaments and non-conference play.
De Soto pulled away from the Bulldogs in a decisive second quarter. The Wildcats rode the hot hand of 6-4 guard/forward Quinton Verhulst, how had 20 for his game-high 27 points before halftime.
As has been the trend all season, the Bulldogs battled the tall De Soto lineup with a short bench. Junior forward Michael Burton and sophomore guard Brock Randels were the latest players to be sidelined by the flu bug that has plagued the Bulldogs throughout January.
Baldwin coach Dustin Leochner refused to use the absences as an excuse.
“I think we could have beaten them short handed,” he said, while acknowledging De Soto is a talented, well coached team. “.”
Also hurting the Bulldogs in the first half, Leochner said, was early foul trouble to defensive stopper Luke Fursman, who was assigned the task of guarding the taller Verhulst.
Baldwin’s second-half adjustments included a lineup of three big men to better matchup with the taller visitors. Fursman returned to keep Verhulst in check in the second 16 minutes.
Although the Bulldogs were never able to reel De Soto back in, they did have the ball a several occasions in the fourth quarter with a chance to cut the deficit to four points. But on all occasions, they were unable to connect or, as Leochner noted, hit free throws.
The Baldwin boys picked up an easy win Friday as they raced away from Osawatomie in the first quarter and then coasted to a 64-44 victory.
The Bulldogs were never threatened in the ballgame after building an 18-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Baldwin hit seven 3-pointers on the night, with Berg and Tim Craig both connecting for three from beyond the arch. Burton provide an inside threat, scoring 15 points to share game honors with Craig.
Tuesday’s loss dropped Baldwin to 10-4 on the year and 4-2 in the Frontier League. The Bulldogs travel Friday to Paola, which beat Baldwin in December at a game played at Baker University’s Collins Center.
“They hit seven or eight threes,” Leochner said. “We’ll see how we can do if their big man doesn’t make two 3-pointers.”