Braves good as gold at Baldwin Invitational
Baldwin Three games in a 26-hour period weren’t enough to slow down the Bonner Springs boys basketball team.
After winning two games Friday night, the Braves came back to play in the Baldwin Invitational Tournament championship Saturday. Fatigue never showed as the Braves defeated BIT host Baldwin 60-41 for the second straight season in the title game.
“It’s something that won’t happen very often,” BSHS coach Andy Price said. “Winning three games in a 26-hour period is very odd. We can chalk it up as a piece of history for us.”
Price admitted after the championship game he was concerned about fatigue, but his players never spoke about the short rest.
“I was very worried, especially because it was all within a 26-hour period,” he said. “In the second game last night, we used a lot of our bench. I tried not to talk about it too much, because I didn’t want them to think about it. In my mind, I was worried, but I was impressed at how fresh they came out at the beginning of the game.”
Junior B.J. Watson sank a pair of 3-pointers during the opening minute of the game to spark the Braves’ offense. Baldwin rallied with one basket and six free throws to take an 8-7 lead during the middle of the quarter.
Bonner Springs (7-2) unleashed a 22-1 run after Baldwin took the lead to put the Bulldogs away early. The Braves ended the first quarter with seven unanswered points, before stretching it to 13 unanswered early in the second quarter.
“We knew we needed to defend and rebound against them,” Price said. “Some of our defense led to easy opportunities, and we shot the ball well. Our defense is our bread and butter, but when we make some shots and get our offense going, that makes us a really good team.”
Two more 3-pointers and several layups helped the Braves build a large second-quarter lead. Bonner Springs led by 20 points at halftime, and the Bulldogs never cut the lead to fewer than 16 points in the second half.
“I thought the first half was one of the better halves we played as a team all year,” Price said. “We played with intensity on defense and rebounded the ball well. Baldwin is a good team, and we really took them out of everything they wanted to do in the first half. We didn’t sustain that during the second half, but I was very pleased with the first half.”
Junior Stevie Williams finished the game with a two-handed dunk that electrified the Bonner Springs crowd. It was the final field goal for the Braves. Williams, Watson and junior Brett Steuart were named to the All-Tournament Team.
“We will give them Monday off after working so hard this weekend,” Price said Saturday night.
The Braves were scheduled to open the Baldwin Invitational Tournament Wednesday, Jan. 19, but a winter storm forced officials to move the game to Friday.
They opened the night with an easy victory over Augusta, 56-37. The Braves outscored the Orioles 29-15 in the first half en route to the win. Watson led the team with 20 points, sinking four 3-pointers, while Williams chipped in 16.
Bonner Springs rested while it watched the next game of the night. Then it was game time again as the Braves played Wednesday’s rescheduled game against Anderson County.
The Braves trailed early, but took the lead late in the first quarter and they never relinquished it. A 17-6 second quarter in favor of the Braves helped them win the game 56-40. No Braves player scored in double figures in the win, but Brett Steuart and Williams scored 8 points apiece.