Baldwin High’s basketball teams represented the school well, going 2-1 in their own Little Ceasars Antebellum Holiday Tournament, contested Thursday through Saturday in the BHS gymnasium.
Pulling off impressive wins in their first two games over Washington County (62-33) and Hancock Central (59-41), the Bravettes settled for a runner-up spot in the tournament after falling 51-25 to Cedar Shoals in the championship game.
“Overall, I’m very happy with where we are after the first month of the season,” Randall Owens, women’s head coach, said. “Again, we’re very young. You have to give all the credit to Cedar Shoals and their experience over our youth.”
Owens is pleased with the way his girls have improved thus far in the season and how well they adjusted in the tournament.
“Anytime you play in a Christmas tournament, that is a time you want to try different things and try different matchups, it’s a time to gain experience,” he said. “Overall, I’m very happy with the progress right now. The players are doing a great job of playing very fast and playing together.”
Receiving substantial contributions from senior Jayla Waller and junior Shemirika Manson, as well as production from freshmen Bria Reeves and Tykeasia Williams, Owens was not surprised to have the opportunity to play for the tournament championship against Cedar Shoals.
“The biggest asset that we have is we have a lot of depth. It’s a mix and match, and it’s a feel that I have at the start of every basketball game,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it was a surprise to be in the championship game, but I will say that if we continue to play like that we should have more wins like that in the second half of the season.”
Also performing well over the weekend, the BHS men pulled off a third place showing in the holiday tournament, taking down Thompson 60-52 to earn the spot.
“I’m grateful, you know, to be where we are, to be 8-3,” Rechard Larkin, men’s head coach, said. “Overall, the tournament was outstanding.”
Larkin believes the tournament might have worn the Braves down heading into their 44-45 loss against Hancock Central in game two, but is pleased with the their efforts nonetheless.
“One thing about hosting, sometimes I think it can tire you out,” he said. “Overall, I’m pleased with how we played.”
Marquise Williams continued to put up big numbers in the tournament; however, Jatavius Williams was the leading scorer in the final game on Saturday night with 22 points and also snagging 11 rebounds.
“Jatavius can be a really good ball player before he graduates Baldwin high school,” Larkin said. “We’re definitely asking for him to be more aggressive, and he responded well Saturday night.”
BHS will look to continue improving and hit their stride in the second part of the season, especially in region play.
“We’re going to have to make sure we compete on every possession,” Larkin said. “We’re hoping and we’re believing that we haven’t hit our peak, and we don’t want to peak now.”
The BHS basketball teams will be back in action on Saturday at Washington County to kick off the new year, with the ladies beginning at 7 p.m. and the men at 8:30 p.m.