Baldwin knocks off Brethren

BALDWIN – Baldwin is staying home while Brethren is going home as a result of Wednesday’s Class D boys basketball district semifinal game.

TO THE RIM: Baldwin’s Daekwon fisher drives to the basket against Brethren during Wednesday’s boys basketball action. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

The host Panthers, 17-4, defeated Brethren 64-40 for the third time this season and will stay home to play the title game 7 p.m. Friday.

Brethren goes back home, having ended its season at 8-14. The first two games between the two West Michigan D League rivals were much closer.

Brandon Childress scored 21 points for Baldwin while Daekwon Fisher had 15 and Andon Ware added 11.

Cotton Podbilski had nine for Brethren.

“We won here by six and at their place by a little more than that,” said Baldwin coach Scott Pedigo. “It was a nice turnaround (Wednesday). We spent three days on recommitting to our defense. We worked on our fast break and our transition game and I think that paid off.”

The Panthers came out flying high and taking early leads in the first half. Childress netted a triple and Fisher put in four field goals to ignite the Panthers to a 14-6 first-quarter advantage. The Bobcats fell behind 9-0 but hit six straight points to get back in the game and picked up a layup at the buzzer by Michael Pettinato.

The Panthers kept attacking the basket in the second quarter while the Bobcats continued to have turnover problems. Childress, who netted a triple early in the quarter, hit two straight baskets later for a 23-13 Baldwin lead.

Ware passed to freshman Daron Copeland, brought up late in the season from the junior varsity, for a lay-up and 29-15 lead. It was 33-15 at halftime.

Baldwin outscored Brethren 22-13 in the third to put the game away. Childress had nine points in the quarter and Copeland netted two triples.

Ware hit two free throws late in the quarter for a 46-31 lead as the Panthers kept control.

Podbilski hit a pair of baskets as the Bobcats tried to stay in the game. Childress snuck inside for a layup and Fisher scored off the break moments later for a 52-21 lead at 2:10.

Childress had six blocks in the first three quarters.

“They came out, using their speed and exploiting more of our weaknesses as far as ball handling goes,” said Brethren coach Travis Walker. “Definitely from the defensive standpoint, they didn’t get after us the first two times the way they did (Wednesday).”

Joe Riggs netted a triple late in the quarter for the Bobcats but the Panthers were up 55-28 going into the fourth.

“We’ve come back before this year, we’ve faced big deficits,” Walker said. “We knew we had the ability to come back. But against a team as quick as Baldwin, they’re quick. We couldn’t handle their quickness tonight. You put yourself in a hole like that against a quick team and you’re looking at a difficult task.”

Childress opened the fourth quarter with a layup for a 29-point Baldwin advantage. Josh Riggs netted a 3-pointer for the Bobcats early in the fourth. Maguel Mahan netted a triple midway in the fourth as the Panthers started putting the game away.

“They used all their guards, I think. Our pressure was there,” Pedigo said. “Even when we didn’t get a steal or turnover, we forced them to throw the ball away. That was big for us. We were active and we were ready.”

Copeland added 10 points for Baldwin.

“He’s another ball handler and 3-point shooter for us. He helps us spread the floor out a little bit,” Pedigo said.

Fisher had four steals and five assists for Baldwin while Childress added seven blocks and five rebounds.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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