Baldwin loses to Manistee Catholic Central

BALDWIN — The diamond was a valuable jewel for the Manistee Catholic Central Sabers Friday night.

Coach Dale Edmondson Jr. employed the diamond-and-one defense to focus on Baldwin’s Karlos Perez, who had scored 30 points in recent boys basketball games. Perez was held to six points, all in the first half, and MCC took advantage for a 43-38 victory to hand the Panthers their first loss of the season.

Zack Bialik netted 18 points while Alex Hogan added 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Sabers, 7-3 overall and 6-1 in the West Michigan D League.

Baldwin, 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the league, was led by Andon Ware with 15 points and seven rebounds.

“We had every opportunity to make layups,” said Baldwin coach Scott Pedigo. “It comes down to finishing those. Catholic did a nice job of running that diamond-and-one on Karlos to make sure he did not get the ball. I told the kids it was my fault. I didn’t have them ready to go against the diamond. They surprised me with it. I threw us out of rhythm.”

“We had plenty of opportunities tonight,” said Edmondson. “I think the biggest thing is we were missing too many little ones and also missing free throws at the end. The No. 1 thing that bothered me was our turnovers. We didn’t secure the ball with two hands in the first or second half. We ended up with 17 total turnovers. We talked about coming into the game that we had to get better on that.”

Leading 24-20 at halftime, the Sabers lost Andrew Perry early in the third for several minutes because of his fourth foul. Bialik scored with 5:05 to play in the quarter for a 31-24 lead.

Bialik’s 3-pointer with 2:13 left in the third gave the Sabers a 35-26 lead and Baldwin continued to have problem hitting its shots. Bialik scored at 1:38 for a 37-26 lead.

It was 37-30 going into the fourth and Bialik scored a fast break basket to open the quarter.

Brandon Childress hit two straight, followed by a basket from Andon Ware to make it 39-36, MCC, early in the fourth. Ware hit again for a 39-38 score but then Baldwin missed four straight possessions to take the lead as MCC’s offense started struggling. Alex Hogan drove and scored for MCC to give the visitors a 41-38 lead at 2:02.

MCC started forcing Baldwin to foul. Hogan at 1:33 missed three free throws after being awarded another one on a Panther lane violation. On two more possessions, inside shots for the Panthers wouldn’t drop.

Baldwin was forced to foul Bialik with 40 seconds left. He couldn’t convert but MCC grabbed the rebound and Hogan went to the line. He also missed, but Ware failed to swish a layup on the other end.

With 20 seconds left, Jack Howard missed a free throw but the Panthers missed a drive at their end.

Hogan, with 13 seconds to play, hit two free throws to seal the win at 43-38.

“When you’re down, you can’t hold the ball. They did a nice job in the last three minutes of playing keep away,” said Pedigo. “They did everything they could to help us win by missing free throws and everything else. We just didn’t convert.”

“We knew Karlos was playing well for them,” said Edmondson. “He had 30 the last two games and we wanted to see how he would handle having a man on him the whole time. He didn’t get as many opportunities that he was accustomed to earlier. The four kids who did a good job in trying to keep them off the boards and to guard him were Ben Feliczak , Jack Howard, Jesse Miller and Nathan Papes. They did a nice job. But it takes a team effort.”

Hogan and Bialik both had six points in the first quarter, which ended in a 14-9 MCC lead. Ware had a couple of baskets in the second to keep the Panthers close. Benjamin Feliczak’s basket late in the quarter gave the visitors a 22-17 lead.

“Hopefully we can rebound and learn from this,” said Pedigo. “We won’t get beat by a diamond or box-and-one again. I will have them ready. I was happy with the effort.”