Baldwyn Bearcats grab elusive state title

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – Tevin Lindsey hit his final 3-pointer as a Baldwyn Bearcat on Thursday night.
Tongue out like Michael Jordan, his final swish was a dagger that sealed Baldwyn’s 66-46 win over Bassfield for the MHSAA Class 2A state championship inside the Mississippi Coliseum.
It’s Baldwyn’s first state title since back-to-back championships in 1986-87.
“It seems so surreal. You’ve dreamed about this for a long time. I cannot tell you the feeling that we have right now,” Baldwyn coach Jason McKay said.
Lindsey scored a game-high 23 points for the Journal’s No. 5-ranked team. Baldwyn (32-3) played the final 27 games of the season without starting point guard and senior Dee Gates, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear in December. To honor him, Lindsey switched to Gates’ No. 3.
Baldwyn hit only 3 of 21 from behind the arc and 8 of 15 from the free throw line in a finals loss here last year and was back in the championship game for the third time in four years. This time around, Baldwyn shot 50 percent en route to the school’s eighth title.
“Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat,” Lindsey said. “I still can’t believe it.”
Duke Upshaw had 16 points for Baldwyn, Martell Brown had 11 and 10 boards.
rout starts early
A 9-0 run had Baldwyn up 11-5 on two Lindsey 3s in the opening quarter.
Conner McKay hit a pair of free throws and Upshaw hit a pair after a steal as the Bearcats went up 24-12 with 4:57 left in the second quarter. Roosevelt Bullard’s three-point play got the Yellowjackets within 23-19 but Lindsey hit one of his five bombs.
“Our town loves basketball and they love their kids. We knew it was something that our town wanted and we kept saying ‘Let’s take care of our family this week and take that gold ball back home,’” Jason McKay said.
Jason McKay was a point guard on Baldwyn’s last two championship teams. McKays’s freshman son, Conner, had six points. Ron Logan had 13 for Bassfield (24-6).
brandon.speck@journalinc.com