Baldwin falls to Northport in boys basketball

BALDWIN — Baldwin couldn’t take advantage of a strong start Thursday night in a 59-50 loss to Northport in non-conference boys basketball action.

Baldwin led by as much as 16 points in the second quarter but fell prey to a Wildcat comeback led by Alan Holt with 28 points and 11 rebounds.

Travis Plotts had 21 points for Baldwin, which ended the regular season with a 2-18 record.

The Panthers took a 29-21 lead into halftime.

“At the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth we ran out of gas,” said Baldwin coach Scott Pedigo. “We didn’t take time against their zone.”

“It was the parents night intensity that Baldwin played with,” said Northport coach Jeff Tropf. “We knew they were going to come after us because it was parents’ night. They hit everything in the first half. We knew if we just hung tough we could play with them. We had a great game at our place. We ended up beating Baldwin by one.”

In the third quarter, Angel Gonzalez sank a triple that cut Baldwin’s lead to 35-31 with 3:30 to play. Later in the quarter, Holt scored to make it 35-33, Baldwin. Plotts and Aaron Thomas followed with baskets to pad Baldwin’s lead to 39-33. Holt scored off a steal at 0:35 to make it a 39-37 game. Plotts scored on a putback to end the third quarter with Baldwin up 41-37.

Northport was able to take advantage of its height in the fourth quarter.

Holt drove for two at 5:48 to give the visitors a 47-45 lead. Joe Brendl added a basket moments later for a four-point lead. Holt had a putback with 1:40 to play for a 51-46 Wildcat advantage. Stowe added two free throws moments later for a 53-46 lead.

Ware hit four straight free throws to make it 53-50 with 54 seconds to play. Stowe hit a free throw for Northport and then stole the ball with 47 seconds to play. He hit two free throws for a 56-50 Northport lead. Holt’s two free throws made it 58-50 with 25 seconds left and Northport was able to run out the clock.

“We didn’t play good help defense,” said Baldwin coach Scott Pedigo. “We went to a zone to get a look but didn’t rotate very well.”

“They appeared to run out of steam and we played very well down the stretch,” said Tropf. “It was a great game to watch.”

Baldwin built a 26-10 lead in the second quarter on a 3-pointer by Plotts who scored seven points in the period. Aaron Thomas drew his third foul earlier in the quarter and the visitors took advantage. Holt, who scored 10 points in the quarter, helped fuel a Wildcat comeback that narrowed the Baldwin lead to 27-21 late in the half. Martel Forest scored with five seconds left in the half for a 29-21 Baldwin lead.

The Panthers led 12-5 after the first quarter.

“We got those 90-foot fouls and made some of our guys have to sit,” said Pedigo. “We’d miss a layup and we’d foul the guy 90 feet from their basket..”

“(Plotts) had a great game and we struggled with him all game long,” said Tropf. “We got a couple of shots and rebounds over him at the end and that was the difference.”

“He’s been with us since January,” Pedigo said. “He came out late to the team and when you come out in January, you’re two months behind. It took him this long to learn the system. We’ve been putting the time in and learning. It gives us some inside presence.”

Baldwin was scheduled to play home this Wednesday in a Class D district semifinal game against Marion.

“They’re bigger with us which is nothing new,” Pedigo said prior to the game. “ I think overall, we’re a faster team. They’ll cram the paint well. All I’ve seen them run the last couple of years is man-to-man. We’ll see what they’ve got.”

A win would put the Panthers in the district finals on Friday at Baldwin against McBain Northern Michigan Christian and Buckley. Most observers consider NMC to be the tournament favorite.