Baldwin boys basketball team enjoys 16-win season
BALDWIN -- It was JJ Eads' 26th year as a basketball coach and his first for the Baldwin boys team.
And it was quite a successful one.
Baldwin was 16-6 overall, and 13-5 in the league for third place.
"They were coming off a three-win season and ninth place in WMD," Eads said. "We were pretty young, and only four guys played varsity ball before. We had to learn from each other on the fly and I had to figure what system would fit our personnel. We had a 10-game win streak at the end of the season and were undefeated in February. Beating Manistee Catholic and Brethren (co-champs) in the same week was big for us. We beat everyone in the league except Pentwater (co champs)."
Losing to Pentwarter twice in games when the Panthers didn't shoot well, was a disappointment along with a loss in the district to McBain NMC.
"NMC is pretty legit," Eads said.
There plenty of outstanding players on the team.
Freshman guard Carmelo Lindsey averaged 16 points, seven rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3.5 steals per game.
"He had some big games throughout the season including a triple double at Mesick and 27 points vs. CCA in districts," Eads said. "He is a strong two-way player, and we are looking forward to having him for a few more years."
Junior guard Lavonte Palmer had 12 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game.
"Lavonte improved throughout the season and put together some big games for us including a 19-point performance at MCE which was an important win for us," Eads said.
"Dylan Hibma provided an inside presence on both sides of the ball. Dexter Hossler gave us an outside shooting threat and really hustled every night and really got after loose balls.
"Leonard McNeeley usually had to guard opponents' best player and was consistent with his effort every night. He was a solid rebounder and contributed on both ends of the court."
Hossler and Darrion Hayter are graduating.
"They will be missed," Eads said. "Darrion gave us some good minutes this year, and is solid inside. Everyone else returns. We should be a quality team if everyone keeps buying into our system and works together.
"I was very impressed on how far they came from November on becoming a team and understanding what it takes to be successful and working together."