By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
Baldwyn High boys basketball coach Jason McKay says the postseason boils down to who “can play the most consistent the longest.”
His Bearcats put together “a string” of impressive victories during last week’s MHSAA Division 1-2A Tournament at New Site High School. They beat East Union and Ashland by a combined 166-112.
“Tonight was one step towards trying to put a string together of playing consistent,” McKay said after Friday night’s 87-47 victory over East Union. “If we do that, then we’ll have an opportunity to be successful.”
The sixth-ranked Bearcats (25-4) set out to return to the Class 2A state championship game when they take their home floor at 7 tonight for its North Tournament first-round matchup against East Webster. West Bolivar defeated Baldwyn 51-49 in last year’s title game.
“They’re just so deep,” East Union coach Tim McDonald said about this season’s Bearcats. “They just got so many guys and they’re just so athletic.”
East Union, on the other hand, gets to play another athletic and talented team in seventh-ranked Calhoun City in tonight’s North tourney opening-round game. If Calhoun City and Baldwyn both win tonight and then win their second-round games on Thursday, they will meet in the North Tournament semifinals on Friday.
The Bearcats, who feature no seniors in their starting lineup, already appear to be primed for that possible showdown. Sophomore big man DiQuan Agnew’s impact on a game was on full display in Friday’s division tournament semifinal victory.
“DiQuan, when he plays with the amount of energy and effort he had tonight,” McKay said on Friday night, “it makes us a different basketball team.
“You cannot coach offensive rebounds. You cannot coach a guy changing shots like he does. DiQuan changed a lot of shots tonight, grabbed a lot of rebounds tonight and he really made the pace of the game a lot faster from his position as a 5 man.
“Anytime your ‘5’ man is running the floor like he was, it just makes the game a lot faster.”
East Webster will be the first opponent to try to slow down the Bearcats – who are out to win their first 2A state title since 1987 – in the 2011 playoffs.
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or firstname.lastname@example.org.