February 26, 2013 | 509 views
Baldwin defense keys playoff win
On a day when its offense struggled to generate points, top-seeded Baldwin used its defense and rebounding as the catalysts for a 45-39 victory over No. 8 Freeport in the
The defending county champion Bruins (15-3) blocked 15 shots by the Red Devils, including 10 by senior forward Eric Mack, an All-County honoree, and four by junior All-Conference center Jordan Williams. Senior forward Elijah MacMillan, who has also earned All-Conference honors, continued his steady play with eight points, six rebounds and a blocked shot.
“We figured it would be a backyard brawl,” Baldwin coach Darius Burton said, noting the natural rivalry between the two schools. “We get everyone’s A-Plus game.
“We struggled shooting the ball and did not have a great offensive game, but I tell the guys that we can have a great defensive night every night.”
The focus of the Bruins’ defense was Freeport senior Kyheim Chaplin, the Red Devils’ top offensive weapon who was averaging more than 20 points per game for much of the regular season. On top of strong long-range skills — he canned a pair of late three-pointers to lead Freeport (12-7) to a first-round win — he is also adept at getting to the foul line. Baldwin kept him under wraps, however, holding him to just 12 points and preventing him from getting a single free throw.
“We knew going in he was their best player and we wanted to make him work for everything,” Burton said.
Freeport coach Bob DeBonis agreed, that nothing came easy for Chaplin, who still managed to hit a three-pointer in the final two minutes trim a four-point deficit to just one. “They double- and triple-teamed him every time he touched the ball.”
After the Chaplin three, however, the Red Devils missed their next long-range look, and Baldwin closed out the game when senior All-Conference and Scholar-Athlete honoree Mike Abrahams and senior All-County honoree Travais Hylton each converted a pair of free throws.
“It was a big game in a crazy environment but we pulled it out,” Burton said.