By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
BELMONT – Belmont coach Guy Gardner helped the Baldwyn Bearcats to plenty of wins before graduating in 1998.
He was on the opposing bench for the first time as a head coach on Monday night.
As his teams went to Jackson twice during his Baldwyn career, this Bearcats team is a contender as well. Baldwyn improved to 9-0 with Monday’s 58-38 win against the Cardinals.
“They’re loaded. I thought our kids played as hard as they possibly could,” said Gardner. “It’s always special to play your hometown, fun to watch them be so good.”
Young Belmont went right at the more experienced Bearcats, taking early leads on a 3-pointer from Harrison Fancher and a 7-6 lead on Lorenzo Braxton’s two.
Tevin Lindsey capped five straight for Baldwyn for an 11-7 lead. One of his four first-half 3s gave the Bearcats a 27-14 lead and the senior opened the second half with a trey for a 39-19 lead.
Baldwyn slowed the pace in the second and third quarters, holding possessions, the first time for nearly 3 minutes. Lindsey had 21. Duke Upshaw had 17. Fancher scored 10 to pace Belmont (4-5).
Baldwyn did it without starting point guard Dee Gates, who left in the third quarter against Aberdeen Saturday with a torn ACL. Gates will miss the rest of the season.
“Our basketball team, when Tevin shoots like he did, it makes everybody else’s game better.” said Baldwyn coach Jason McKay.
(G) Belmont 45, Baldwyn 43: Belmont (7-2) won a wild game on Elisiah Jones’ bucket with 13 seconds to play. Timaya Stewart missed a tying shot but it was her 3-pointer and two that tied the game at 43. Jones scored 10 points. Natasha Jones had 17. Ayana Ragin had 17, Stewart 14 for Baldwyn (6-2). It was the 200th career win for coach Chris Higginbottom.