Baldwin players enjoy prosperous season

BALDWIN — Two of the players returning for Baldwin next year are junior Deondra McDonald and freshman Ryan Kolenbrander.

McDonald played a key role for the Panthers all season and Kolenbrander, brought up from the JVs, made his presence felt late in the year.

Prior to the district title win over Brethren, McDonald was reflecting on how successful his team has been.

“We’re coming together as a team when it counts,” he said. “We’re playing good. We’re playing good defense and we’re sharing the ball. We have to come out and play better in the first half. If we play a whole game, there isn’t a team in the league that can mess with us.”

A key test was in the district finals against a strong Brethren team. But the Panthers proved that they can beat an excellent team three times in one season.

“We have to play good defense and play the whole game,” McDonald said. “We know their best player is Josh (Riggs), so we’ll put effort into stopping him and we can’t forget about the other guys too.”

McDonald, Da’Ron Copeland and Blake Dockery were the big three for the Panthers, but others like Brandon Beane, Ahmad Goram and Terrell Rogers also were coming through, not to mention Kolenbrander, who played eight varsity games as a freshman.

“It’s a faster pace,” he said of the varsity. “I get two quarters (of action) per game. I’m in for defense. He puts me out there when one of our players get tired.”

Kolenbrander was a main scorer for the JVs. Driving to the basketball was among his strengths. He was confident going into the district final.

“We’re getting there but we have minor mistakes we shouldn’t be making,” he said. “We have to make our defense better.

“It’s a lot of fun. I’m glad to be on varsity.”

Kolenbrander also plays baseball.