By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
BALDWYN – Baldwyn coach Jason McKay knows what it’s like to win a state championship as a player.
McKay was Baldwyn’s point guard in 1986 and ’87 when the Bearcats won back-to-back Class 2A state championships, the school’s last titles.
He’ll get another shot at it after his Bearcats’ 56-50 win against West Bolivar Saturday night in the MHSAA Class 2A North Mississippi Championship.
Tied at 49, Marcell Lucas powered his way into the lane and not only put the Bearcats (29-4) ahead, he hit a free throw on the foul for a 52-49 lead.
‘A special feeling’
“It’s a special feeling because you know how hard our kids have worked to achieve this goal,” McKay said. “So many things they did tonight was a result of their will to win.”
Baldwyn will face South No. 2 Loyd Star, a 74-66 loser at Hinds Saturday, on Friday at 8 p.m. West Bolivar will face South champ Hinds Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
Ian Burress made sure West Bolivar (23-8) wouldn’t out-will his team, knocking down two free throws with 6.9 seconds to play for a 54-49 lead as Baldwyn closed on a 7-1 run.
“Marcell has hit big shots all year long and like so many of our kids, he’s not scared of a big shot,” McKay said. “Marcell is certainly not going to run from that situation. At the same time, some big defensive stops as a team to allow his shot to be the winning shot.”
Lucas led Baldwyn with a game-high 25 points. Reggie Patterson added another 16. For the Eagles, Mack Foster led the way with 13 points, followed by Terrance Matthews’ 12. Card Walker had 10.
“I really thought we played well,” said Eagles coach Willie Thomas, whose Eagles were without one starter with the stomach virus and had won 18 straight. “I thought we played well enough to win, but sometimes it just goes the other way.”
At the third period buzzer, Patterson was fouled and hit three free throws to give Baldwyn a 40-37 lead. It was 23-all at the half.
“I think four starters walked up there and hit some big free throws all throughout the course of the game,” McKay said. “Our guys did a great job of hitting some pressure free throws.”