Baldwin boys fight back to edge De Soto in triple overtime
De Soto — Baldwin High School senior guard Cornell Brown scored 11 of his 27 points in the third overtime as the Bulldogs overcame De Soto on the road, 77-75.
Brown made the last points of the game on a jump shot from the right baseline with 3.8 seconds remaining.
Brown wasn’t the only hero for Baldwin, which had to overcome a 14-point third-quarter deficit and a 10-point disadvantage at the start of the forth quarter. Helping put the final period momentum in Baldwin’s advantage was senior guard Tim Craig, who connected on two-straight three-pointers midway through the final period, bringing the Bulldogs to within five points at 54-49.
The Bulldog cause then took a hit when senior guard Chad Berg fouled out of the game with 2:36 to play. Berg had carried Baldwin in the third quarter with 11 points, including three from beyond the arc against De Soto’s zone.
As the third quarter worn on, Baldwin started getting to loose balls and rebounds that the Wildcats had snared in the first half. Coach Dustin Leochner said he expected the more physical Bulldogs to outlast the Wildcats.
“I wrote on the board before the game ‘Impose your will, and wear them down.” We didn’t impose our will, but we did wear them down,” he said.
Baldwin battle through Berg’s absence, outscoring De Soto 6-2 in the last 2:38 of regulation to force overtime.
De Soto led through much of the first overtime and looked to have the game won when De Soto’s Dalton Verhulst coolly sank two free throws with 4.9 remaining on the clock.
Baldwin got the ball up the court in time for senior forward Michael Burton to knock down a shot in the lane as the buzzer sounded, tying the score at 65 all and forcing a second overtime period.
“We just put that free throw sideline break play in on Thursday,” Leochner said. “I told them the scenario we might use it in, and first game out of the block we end up needing it. They ran it to perfection and Mike ended up hitting a huge shot.”
Burton finished the game with 25 points, providing the Bulldogs’ only offense in the first quarter with eight points.
Brown give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game when hit two free throws after he stole the ball and was fouled with 3:42 left in the third 4-minute overtime. Brown stepped up after Berg fouled out, scoring 20 points in the final 3 minutes of regulation and the extra periods.
“Cornell hasn’t been Cornell the last couple of game,” Leochner said. “I was sitting there thinking, ‘It’s nice to have you back.’”
Brown’s steal came off a trapping triangle-and-two defense the Bulldogs used in an attempt to contain the brothers Dalton and Quinton Verhulst, who scored 31 and 14 points respectively. The defense was last deployed last year against Ottawa’s Semi Ojeleye.
“We haven’t used the triangle-and-two all year,” Leochner said. “We haven’t even used it in practice. It shows how much trust I have in these guys. It could have backfired and made me look bad, but they made it work.”
The victory improved Baldwin’s overall record to 13-2 and its Frontier League mark to 6-2. The Bulldogs will play Tuesday at Ottawa, and will attempt to avenge a loss in January to the Cyclones.
Baldwin 77, De Soto 75
Baldwin 8 13 16 19 9 0 12 – 77
De Soto 15 16 16 9 9 0 10 - 75
Baldwin: Cornell Brown 27, Tim Craig 6, Chad Berg 17, Michale Burton 25, Quinn Twombly 2
De Soto: Max Taulbee 2, Dalton Verhulst 31, Jason Johnson 7, Justin Johnson7, Isaac Albert 14, Quinton Verhulst 14