Baldwin opens league season with victory over Pentwater

BALDWIN —  It was a slow start but a fast finish for the Baldwin boys basketball team Thursday night.

Miguel Mahan scored 25 points and Brandon Childress added 18 to lead the Panthers to a 96-59 victory in the West Michigan D League opener.

The Panthers, who lost their opener 75-57 to Muskegon Heights on Tuesday, Dec. 10, improved to 1-1 overall. Pentwater is 0-2 both overall and in the league.

Damon Nichols added 14 points and Braeden Childress had 13 points for the Panthers.

Sam Wagner had 22 points and Jared Visger added 15 for Pentwater.

The Panthers outscored Pentwater 57-30 in the second half.

During the intermission, “I told them we were kind of lethargic,” Baldwin coach Kevin Dillard said. “We need to get after this team and they shouldn’t be hanging around. Let’s go out there, have fun and play basketball and do the things we know how to do.”

Baldwin was up at halftime 39-29. Brandon Childress missed some of the first quarter and all of the second with three fouls. His brother Braeden Childress picked up the slack with seven points in the second. Nichols had three triples and 12 total points in the first half. He and Da’Ron Copeland combined for three 3-pointers in the first quarter, which ended in a 13-13 tie.

“Damon’s a shooter so I just told him to stay in the game and keep his confidence,” Dillard said. “I gave him the green light.”

Sam Wagner had a pair of triples in the first half for Pentwater and 13 total points.

The Panthers started enjoying leads in the second quarter with Mahan also chipping in with six points. Copeland and Braeden Childress hit their 3-pointers to close out the half for a 10-point Baldwin advantage.

Wagner hit a three early in the third to cut Baldwin’s lead to 45-37. But Mahan followed with a triple and layup for a 48-37 bulge. When Mahan connected from outside at 4:37, Baldwin was up 54-39. He scored 17 points in the quarter.

“Miguel is a great player,” Dillard said. “We have to get with him and make sure he’s doing everything he needs to do on offense and defense. He’s a heckuva player. I had a talk with him. I think he was mad Pentwater was hanging around and he said ‘I’m going to take the game over.’ And he did.”

Mahan’s 3-point play at 3:50 made it 60-39. Brandon Childress’ putback, followed by Damon Nichols’ layup a 2:11 made it 66-41. Childress hit two straight layups for a 72-46 lead at end of the third quarter.

Brandon Childress scored 12 points in the third. He only scored two points in the first half, but his team was still up by 10.

“We like to have that balance,” Dillard said. “We need that balance when we get to the playoffs and come tournament time. It’s good to see that early.”

Braeden Childress hit a 3-pointer and layup while Brandon followed with a layin for a 77-51 lead at 5:40. Pentwater finally ran out of gas and the Panthers secured the win.

The win came two days after the disappointing loss to Muskegon Heights.

“I’m glad we got a chance to show the fans that even though we had a short time that we still know how to play and we had a good time out here,” Dillard said.