By David Wheeler
Special to the Journal
BLUE SPRINGS – It is time to flick the switch for the Baldwyn Bearcats.
The Bearcats successfully did that a season ago, winning the Class 2A state championship.
That was then, and Thursday was semifinal action in the Division 1-2A Tournament, with the Bearcats flicking the switch into playoff mode with a 60-42 victory over the hustling East Union Urchins.
“This was only one win,” Bearcats head coach Jason McKay said. “I know we’ll have a huge challenge tomorrow.”
With the win, Baldwyn (25-3) is assured of a home game Tuesday in the Class 2A North Tournament. Baldwyn will play in the 1-2A title game today at 8:30 p. m., and East Union in the 5:30 p.m. consolation against either New Site or Walnut.
It was the 3-pointer that the Bearcats turned on early in the matchup to grab the lead. Romero Crump bagged the first one for Baldwyn, then Felix Harris shot in three more as the Bearcats built a 15-4 advantage.
It was a patient pace into the second quarter, with Conner McKay scoring six as Baldwyn closed the second quarter on an 8-0 run to lead 27-18 at the half.
“This time of year, the kids just pass down it’s playoff time,” McKay said. “They’re aware of what we’re playing for.”
East Union was still hanging close at 28-20 in the third quarter following a Dustin Hall basket, but a Harris three-point play pushed the lead back into double digits, and Baldwyn went on for the win.
McKay led Baldwyn in scoring with 16, with Hall totaling 16 for East Union.
(G) New Site 79, East Union 31: The New Site Lady Royals are certainly use to flicking the switch come playoff time, and did that in semifinal play against East Union.
After moving to an 18-7 first quarter lead, the Lady Royals (23-6) began the second quarter on a 12-0 run. Grace Elliot had a pair of field goals during the spurt, giving New Site a 30-7 lead.
“We’ve talked about picking up our game for the playoffs the last couple of weeks, and I thought our kids responded tonight,” New Site head coach Byron Sparks said. “At this point, it’s one game at a time, and we’ve got a good Walnut team tomorrow.”
New Site will play Walnut in the 7 p.m. championship game, while East Union and Baldwyn will play in the 4 p.m. consolation game.
Christin Pharr paced New Site with 19 points.