Retooled Bearcats looking to repeat

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

FULTON – The Baldwyn Bearcats were very much concerned with wins and losses en route to the 2013 MHSAA Class 2A state basketball championship in March.
In the summer heat, Baldwyn isn’t adding up the win totals, but it is adding up the mileage. Baldwyn will play some 40 summer basketball games, last week immediately leaving team camp at Itawamba CC’s Davis Event Center for Atlanta, where it played in the Georgia Tech Team Camp.
The Bearcats are looking to replace starter Tevin Lindsey, but that’s just the beginning.
“I think that’s what summer is all about, observing and watching and seeing what best fits what you need to do to get where you need to be,” Baldwyn coach Jason McKay said. “You’re trying to see what individuals will fit into a team concept that will give you an opportunity to win.”
The Bearcats will have to replace more than Lindsey’s clutch shooting – defensive specialist Mason Penson provided big minutes off the bench too – but the four other starters are back.
Forward Duke Upshaw and point guard Conner McKay are sophomores. Center Romaro Crump is a junior alongside senior guard Martell Brown.
“We emphasize no winning whatsoever in the summer,” McKay said. “We’re looking more at chemistry. It’s not just about that fifth man. It’s really about finding that fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth and finding that team chemistry.”
There are familiar names, as well as new ones. A 5-foot-10 freshman, Felix Hayes hit a big 3-pointer as Baldwyn was trying to come back in a loss against Aberdeen at ICC.
“When you’ve got talent, then we have options. I don’t like to say fifth, sixth, seventh, because your seventh man may be the most valuable player on the team,” McKay said.
brandon.speck@journalinc.com