Baldwyn Bearcats use better defense to pull away in second half

By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal

BALDWYN – A little lashing out doesn’t hurt.
With his team clinging to a two-point lead over visiting Myrtle High on Thursday night, Baldwyn head boys basketball coach Jason McKay got into his team at halftime and let his players know exactly what they needed to do – or not do – in order to beat a talented Class 1A team.
The Bearcats went from using their hands so much on defense to using their feet more and Reggie Patterson came out more aggressive on the offensive end to change the direction of the game in the second half.
Baldwyn (15-2) outscored Myrtle 22-9 in the third quarter to cruise to a 77-69 victory at home.
“He was furious because we were doing too much fouling,” Patterson said about McKay’s reaction to the Bearcats’ first half. “But as the third quarter got going, I knew my team was going to come and get on my back and I was going to get on their back, and we going to take this game.
“Our offense got to flowing and we got to passing the ball more.”
The two combined for 27 fouls in the first half, which Baldwyn led 35-33 when it ended. Patterson scored 20 of his game-high 37 points in the first two quarters, including seven points coming from the charity stripe.
In the third quarter, the Baldwyn junior scored eight to lead the second-half charge.
“Reggie’s the type of kid that if he senses there’s an opportunity that you can lose the basketball game, his urgency to take over the game becomes greater,” McKay said. “He did a good job tonight of stepping up and making some plays that gave us an opportunity to distance the lead from them.”
Dee Gates had 13 points, while Ian Burress and Tevin Lindsey each had 10 for the Bearcats.
Robert Montgomery led the Hawks (11-8) with 21 while Russ Yates had 11 in a losing cause.
“It’s hard to win at Baldwyn,” Montgomery said. “They’re pretty good. They’re one of the best (Class) 2A schools around.”
The Bearcats opened up the game on a 16-5 run, but the Hawks came back to take a one-point lead, 19-18, on a free throw by Heriah Dodson with 42 seconds left in the first quarter. The teams would be tied at 19-all entering the second quarter.
“We started off well in the first half, but in the second half we just lost focus a little bit,” Montgomery said. “When we got down, we tried to battle back in, but it was a little too late.”
(G) Myrtle 80, Baldwyn 59: In what appeared to be a tuneup for their showdown with Class 4A power New Albany tonight, the Lady Hawks (16-3) cruised to a road win.
Aspriona Gilbert scored a game-high 25 points while teammates Keanna Cox and Jenna Jordan added 21 apiece.
Jordan hit six 3-pointers in the game, with four coming in the first half.
Ayana Ragin scored 18 to lead the Lady Bearcats (6-10). Devin Agnew had 14 for Baldwyn, which trailed by as many as 28 points in the second half.