By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
BALDWYN – The Baldwyn Bearcats have been adapting this early part of the season to injury situations.
But don’t feel sorry for the Bearcats, because their usual hard work has them off to nice start.
Against the Belmont Cardinals on Tuesday night, Baldwyn hustled its way to an 83-59 victory to improve to 5-1 on the young season.
“So much of our time is having to adjust to everybody learning and defining roles right now,” said Baldwyn coach Jason McKay – who, for example, is currently without the services of prolific scorer Reggie Patterson because of a football injury. “I don’t think we played well tonight, but we played with a lot of energy.
“I thought we did make them turn the basketball over.”
Baldwyn’s pressure was on display early and often.
The Bearcats scored the first 11 points of the contest, with eighth grader Duke Upshaw scoring a pair of baskets, and Dee Gates capping the early run with a 3-pointer.
Baldwyn continued its fast tempo, and a Gates 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the period pushed its lead to 24-8.
The contest settled into a bit more normal flow for the next couple of periods, with guard Ian Burress, a starter from last season, getting his first playing time of the season coming off an achilles injury. Baldwyn led 41-22 at the half.
Upshaw paced the Baldwyn offensive attack with 26 points, while Trevor Hood was tops for Belmont with 20.
(G) Belmont 83, Baldwyn 42: The Belmont Lady Cardinals are already pretty battle-tested, so Baldwyn’s constant pressure defense barely phased them.
A pair of Leslie Robinson 3-pointers helped the Belmont early momentum, and a basket and free throw in the closing minute of the period by Angelia Allen helped the Lady Cardinals to a 21-7 lead.
“We’re playing better since our loss to Myrtle,” Belmont coach Chris Higginbottom said. “We’re doing better executing, and we’re getting after it better.”
Allen wound up with 25 points to lead Belmont (5-2), while Ayana Ragin hit 13 for Baldwyn (3-2).