Baldwin falls to NMC in district finals

Season ends with 13-2 record

Baldwin's Dylan Hibma (2) gets ready for a possible rebound against McBain NMC. (Star photo/John Raffel)

Baldwin's Dylan Hibma (2) gets ready for a possible rebound against McBain NMC. (Star photo/John Raffel)

CUSTER - A challenging but successful boys basketball season came to a close for Baldwin with a 49-42 loss to McBain Northern Michigan Christian in Saturday's Division 4 title game at Mason County Eastern.

The Panthers (13-2) had won nine in a row. The Comets, 12-2, have only lost to Division 3 schools and will now play in the regional.

Trevin Winkle, only a junior, had 27 points to lead the Comets.

"It was a tough game tonight, I'm really proud of our effort," Baldwin coach JJ Eads said. "We had a few things go against us. It was kind of a crazy weekend.

"We had three guys show up right up at gametime because they were at the state bowling finals. They weren't able to be at practice on Friday."

NMC was considered to be a slight favorite but Baldwin led 11-10 after the first quarter. The battle continued with Lavonte Palmer scoring two free throws for a 21-21 tie late in the second. Blake DeZeeuw scored inside for the Comets who took a 24-21 lead. Anthony Austin scored before the quarter ended for the 24-23 halftime score with NMC in front.

Palmer had 10 points in the first half while Jesse Pancio added six. The season's leading scorer, Carmelo Lindsey, had his third foul in the second quarter and had to sit for several minutes.

"We started out man-to-man but Baldwin is really fast and athletic and we couldn't keep them out of the paint," NMC coach Kyle Bentham said. "So the second quarter, we switched to the zone and went to box-and-one on Carmelo and did pretty good."

NMC built a 32-28 lead halfway in the third, as the Panthers couldn't get their shots to drop. Trevin Winkle scored for NMC and it was 34-28 with 1:19 left in the third. Karlito McKinney scored inside for Baldwin. But Winkle came back with a 3-point play for a 37-30 lead. Pancio countered with a triple.

Winkle struck again with another 3-point play and it was 40-33, NMC, going into the fourth.

McKinney scored inside Baldwin to open the fourth quarter. Pancio passed inside to Dylan Hibma for a basket and it was a 40-37 lead before NMC's Nick Heuker hit another three.

McKinney drove for two and it was 43-40, NMC, with 3:12 to play. Winkle drove for two but Lindsey scored at the other end and it was 45-42. The Comets scored again and time was running down.

Baldwin trailed 47-42 and was forced to foul. Winkle hit two free throws and it was 49-42 with 23 seconds to go.

"Down the stretch, our kids were able to execute and Trevin, in the third and fourth quarter, was able to take over the game with his size," Bentham said. "He understands the game very well."

Palmer led Baldwin with 13 points followed by McKinney (9) and Pancio (9).

"They gave everything they could," Eads said. "NMC's length bothered us a little bit. Their zone was effective against us. They made a couple of more plays down the stretch. Winkle got all-state for a reason. Give the kid credit."