Baldwin boys rally to win in overtime at Louisburg
The Baldwin High School boys became escape artists in the last week, managing to pick up overtime victories at De Soto and Louisburg after trailing most of both games.
On Tuesday, the Bulldogs latest narrow 46-44 escape played out with a good deal of late game strategizing.
“It was kind of a chess match at the end,” Baldwin coach Dustin Leochner said.
In a successful attempt to get Louisburg out of a 3-2 zone that stymied the Bulldogs throughout the game, Leochner had senior guard Cornell Brown hold the ball near half court after Baldwin gained possession of the ball with 2:37 to play in regulation and the score tied 41-41. The Wildcats let the clock run down to 1:15 left in the game before going to man-to-man and pressuring the ball. But the Bulldogs failed to take advantage when they turned the ball over in the lane. Baldwin avoided a late loss when Louisburg failed to convert, giving the Bulldogs a last chance to win in regulation with 8 seconds left.
Louisburg coach then took the opportunity to move chess pieces, using fouls to make Baldwin to take the ball out of bounds twice in the last eight seconds and forcing bad shot at the buzzer.
Baldwin went into the stall again when Louisburg started overtime in a zone. Again Baldwin forced the Wildcats to abandon their favorite defense after a minute ticked off the clock and again the Bulldogs failed to take advantage of the defensive change when they turned the ball over with 2:10 to play. After empty possessions by both teams, Louisburg’s Wyatt Sander made two three throws with 1:06 to play in overtime, giving the Wildcats a 43-41 lead.
Strangely, Louisburg did not drop into the zone with the lead. Senior Luke Fursman made the Wildcats pay with a conventional three-point play with 52 seconds remaining. Senior Chad Berg added two three-throws for the last of his game-high 23 points with 25 seconds to play, increasing the Bulldogs’ lead to 46-43. Baldwin’s defense held Louisburg to two contested three-pointers on its last possession before a foul with less than a second left allow Louisburg score its final point.
Leochner wasn’t pleased with how his team executed against the Louisburg zone or rebounded for much of the game.
“We didn’t have any energy against the zone again,” he said. “We’re going to have to find a way to bring energy because we’re going to see it a lot more.
“I told our guys before the game the only way we lose was if we sent them to the line a lot and didn’t rebound. We did a good job of not fouling but we sure didn’t rebound. We made shots, got stops and got rebounds when we needed them, but if we keep playing this way it’s going to bite us.”
Leochner said Baldwin did do one thing right in the first half — feed the ball to the hot hand. Berg scored 18 points in the first half and four shots against the zone from behind the arc.
Baldwin will travel to Friday to play Ottawa, one of two team to beat the Bulldogs this season.