Baldwin rides strong first half, picks up 69-44 rivalry win against CCA

Baldwin’s Blake Dockery (13) looks to make amove while being defended by CCA’s Matthew Begeman (2) during Thursday’s game at CCA. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

BIG RAPIDS — The Baldwin boys basketball team lost its first two games of the 2017-18 season, but that bump in the road has been driving the Panthers ever since.

The Panthers outscored Crossroads Charter Academy 24-6 in the second quarter and went on to defeat the Cougars 69-44 Thursday at CCA.

“It was a hard-fought game,” Baldwin coach Scott Pedigo said. “Even with the lead, it didn’t really feel safe.”

“I thought we came out flat,” CCA head coach Jason Kostecki said. “If we come out with energy we can play with anybody. We just dug ourselves a whole and couldn’t dig ourselves out.”

Blake Dockery led all scorers with 31 points and Armondo Jennings had 16 and Scott Anscomb added 11.

“We had to come out strong and set a tone,” Anscomb said. “We wanted to let everyone in the conference know what we’re about.”

Britton Angell tallied 22 points for CCA and Cody Carlson scored 12 points (four 3-pointers) — all of which came in the third quarter.

The rivalry between the two teams is a spirited one and Thursday’s game was no different. Baldwin’s Jennings was called for a technical foul after mixing it up with Angell during the first quarter.

The Panthers were intent on keying in on Angell defensively and and forced his teammates to attempt to make shots.

Their plan paid off in the first half.  The Panthers were able to create turnovers defensively and made plays both in transition and on the perimeter to pull away quickly. A coast-to-coast dunk by Dockery was one of many highlight plays for Baldwin in the first half.

The Panthers led 16-5 after one quarter of play and led by as many as 31 points in the second quarter before taking a 40-11 lead into halftime.

“We just came out with confidence,” Anscomb said,” We wanted to get them under pressure and turn defense into offense.”

“We got too passive,” Kostecki said. “We passed on shots we’d normally take and we made some weak passes against their zone. It was a culmination of a bunch of things that ultimately compounded into that big deficit at halftime.”

After halftime, the Cougars started the second half with renewed intensity. Carlson’s 3-point barrage helped open things up offensively for his teammates and the Cougars forced the Panthers into bad shots, defensively. CCA outscored Baldwin 20-9 in the third to trim the lead to 18 (49-31).

“I was struggling in the first half,” Carlson said. “Coach got on me at halftime and I came out thinking that I have to help the team get back into this. My shooting really helped us a lot.”

The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair between the two teams, with the highlight play being a Dockery chase-down block on an Angell shot attempt at the rim.

The starters remained in the game for Baldwin later than intended after some miscommunication between Pedigo and the scorer’s table. Pedigo was assessed a technical foul for a roster error.

“I would have cleared the benches earlier,” Pedigo said. “I talked to Jason (Kostecki) after the game. I felt like a bit of a jerk because I knew when I put the guys in, that there were going to be technical fouls.”

Thursday’s win was Baldwin’s fifth in a row and the Panthers (5-2, 4-1) are hoping to keep that streak alive. Baldwin faces Beal City at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on the road.

“We had a rough December,” Pedigo said. “Everyone’s healthy now. We’re chasing a league title and you can’t take wins for granted.”

“We need to keep the intensity up and we can’t relax,” Anscomb said. “If we keep working hard and play as a team, we’re gonna be alright.”

CCA (1-6, 0-5) will try to get back on the winning path next Tuesday against Morley Stanwood. The Cougars have lost six-straight games.

“We need to learn from our second half,” Angell said. “If you don’t learn from your losses, you’re not going to get better. I think we’re going to start improving.

“Once we battle for four quarters, we’ll start to see differences and our wins will start to go up.”

Leave a Reply