By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
NEW SITE – Just how good are the Baldwyn High Bearcats?
Good enough to play all 15 players on its roster and not miss a beat.
In Friday night’s MHSAA Division 1-2A Basketball Tournament semifinal against East Union, all 15 Baldwyn boys players saw action as the Bearcats rolled to an 87-47 win at New Site High School.
Sixth-ranked Baldwyn (24-4) will play Ashland (17-10) in tonight’s championship game set for 8:30 in New Site.
“There’s no way we’re going up and down the floor with those guys,” Urchins coach Tim McDonald said about trying to control the tempo against the Bearcats. “They’re just too deep and too talented.”
While Reggie Patterson went off for 42 points – he scored 39 through the first three quarters – Duke Upshaw came off the bench to score 11, tying starter Dee Gates for the second highest point total by a Baldwyn player in the game.
Not too mention, Madison Thomas and Will Moore both drained 3-pointers after sitting the first three periods.
“We like to think that we have a lot of guys that can shoot the basketball,” said Baldwyn coach Jason McKay. “Our guys stay in the gym a lot.
“You’re going to have to have bench help to make a successful playoff run. Tonight should give our guys some confidence from the bench standpoint, that they can come in and help us win some basketball games.”
With Ian Burress setting up Patterson for some easy buckets and big man DiQuan Agnew altering shots, grabbing rebounds and running the floor well to speed up the pace of the game, the Bearcats look like a solid contender to make a run at reaching the MHSAA Class 2A state semifinals for the second consecutive year.
“Ian Burress made everything about this basketball game go tonight,” McKay said. “I think Reggie (Patterson) will be the first to tell you that without Ian and his teammates getting him the basketball, he would not have 42 points tonight. … He (Burress) allowed Reggie to get those points tonight by the things he was doing on the offensive end to keep our offense flowing.”
Trey Barkley tallied 14 points for East Union (9-19), with seven coming in a mere two-minute span in the first quarter, as he helped his team pull to within three (12-9) after falling behind 10 points to start the game.
– (B) Ashland 63, Hickory Flat 62: Just when Ashland seemed to be putting the nail in the coffin, the Rebels came back to life, turning a 15-point deficit into a two-point one with a minute remaining in the contest. The Blue Devils, however, held on in the final seconds.
Darius Dukes scored a game-high 25 and Jeremy Williams added 10 to lead Ashland.
Michael Penilton tallied 14 and Timothy Tatum chipped in 12 for the Rebels (24-9).
– (G) Ashland 63, Walnut 58: After trailing 30-28 at halftime, the Lady Blue Devils outscored the Lady Wildcats 35-28 in the second half to advance to tonight’s semifinal against host New Site.
Alontra Tucker scored a game-high 22 while Trenise Hampton and Khadjah Preston added 12 and 9, respectively, for Ashland (10-15).
Khadijah Thomas scored a team-high 18 and Riley Quinn tallied nine for Walnut (18-9).
– (G) New Site 66, Baldwyn 54: The Lady Bearcats gave the 10th-ranked Lady Royals all they could handle before succumbing to a semifinals loss on New Site’s home floor.
Ayana Ragin scored a team-high 18 for Baldwyn (11-15), with Nekya Ward and Centasia Osborn pitching in 10 apiece.
Christy Clark (game-high 19), Shelby Stricklen (14) and Cristin Pharr (14) led the Lady Royals (21-4).