Panthers make it 10 straight wins
BIG RAPIDS -- Baldwin's boys basketball team had won nine straight games entering Monday's Division 4 district first round game at Crossroads.
But the host Cougars had also been playing good basketball and were hoping to pull off a surprise.
But a big 27-9 third quarter for the Panthers (16-5) keyed a 72-46 win over CCA (3-18).
Baldwin (16-5) has won 10 straight and plays in a district semifinal game at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at Marion against McBain Northern Michigan Christian (5-15). The season is over for CCA (3-18).
"It was a little bit of a slow start," Baldwin coach JJ Eads said. "We knew Crossroads would be ready to play. Having Isaac Slomp back (from injury) gives them a lot of confidence on both ends of the court."
Robert Miller scored midway in the first quarter for CCA to cut Baldwin's lead to 10-8.
Baldwin led 15-10 going into the second quarter.
Baldwin Carmelo Lindsey picked up two fouls in the first half and saw some bench time.
"Our guys weathered the storm early," Eads said. "It took us awhile to get going. We got into a little bit of foul trouble."
Aveon Hobbs had a triple to give Baldwin a 22-12 lead. But Isaac Slomp proved to be a strong force in the middle and CCA cut it to 25-21 when Raj Singh scored off a steal. Karlito McKinney scored for Baldwin, which led 29-21 at halftime.
During the regular season, Baldwin swept the Cougars 50-47 and 82-27.
Baldwin led 29-21 at halftime.
Isaac Slomp scored for CCA to open the third quarter. Dylan Hibma followed with a basket for Baldwin.
Lavonte Ponder hit five unanswered points for a 36-25 lead. Hibma had a putback for a 38-25 lead with 4:44 to go in the third, and CCA was hurting itself with turnovers.
Leonard McNeeley scored off a pass from Lindsey for a 40-25 lead. Ponder's putback at 3:50 made it 42-25. McNeeley scored to make it 44-25. Ponder's layup made it 48-27 at 1:59. Lindsey's triple at 1:20 made it 51-27. Raj Singh followed with a 3-pointer for CCA.
It was 56-30 going into the fourth.
Lindsey's triple made it 61-33. Lindsey scored two more hoops for a 65-33 lead.
Lindsey had 25 points for Baldwin, followed by Palmer with 16 points and McNeeley and Hossler with six apiece. Derek Mock had five.
"We had a game plan to try to slow their transition down," CCA coach Rusty Fullerton said. "It worked pretty well in the first half. But I knew sooner or later they would go on a big run and it depends on how we reacted. I don't think we reacted good enough to hold them back, obviously."
Singh had 14 for CCA while Slomp had 13, Robert Miller nine and Tyler Omo six.
McBain NMC plays in the Highland Conference while Baldwin is in the West Michigan D.
"If they played in our league, they'd be 15-5," Eads said. "They're battle tested. They don't get blown out in the Highland."