By Brandon Speck
Baldwyn is 20 games into its season, but the Bearcats say the season really starts on Feb. 20 – the beginning of the division tournament.
That’s where the big goals begin, a shot at repeating its 2013 Class 2A state championship.
Things have gone right in the win column thus far. Baldwyn, No. 3 in Northeast Mississippi, won the Prentiss County championship Saturday at New Site and improved to 18-1 heading into Tuesday’s Division 1-2A game at Walnut.
“It’s been a collective effort. It really has,” coach Jason McKay said. “To single a kid out would not be doing it justice.”
Baldwyn started Colby Agnew, Martel Brown, Conner McKay, Duke Upshaw and Romaro Crump Saturday. Brown and Upshaw scored 18 apiece. Crump has become more of a focus for opposing coaches this season.
Productive depth has been an asset. Agnew started for injured freshman Felix Hayes. Ryan Wesson and Chet Barber have also filled that role. Barber and Brown each had crowd-pleasing blocks on one New Site possession, Saturday.
“Several nights, we’ve had different guys scoring, but there have been nights that have been a different high rebounder or different guy with different assists,” McKay said.
“That sound like coaches’ talk, but it is what it is.”
The one loss on the Bearcats’ resume came at the hands of Alabama 6A favorite, Lee-Huntsville.
There are plenty more appealing non-division games on the schedule, games that are more fun for the fans than for McKay. The Baldwyn graduate doesn’t downplay upcoming games against ranked teams, at 3A Aberdeen, at 4A Corinth and a rivalry game at 3A Booneville, but he does stress more division and postseason dates – games that can lead his team to a shot at the back-to-back titles he helped Baldwyn win in 1986-87.
“Our kids seem to enjoy a big game. We hope they do. Those games are games you don’t need to let break your season or make your season,” McKay said. “Everything now is about Feb. 20.”