For the third time in four years, Baldwyn is headed to the boys Class 2A championship game.
It took a hard-fought 50-45 victory over Williams-Sullivan Friday night in the semifinals to get there.
But Baldwyn coach Jason McKay isn’t satisfied just yet. He wants to get the school a gold ball, something it hasn’t won since he was a point guard on back-to-back-state championship teams in 1986 and 1987.
“We’re not happy right now.” said McKay. “We need one more. We know we have a great challenge ahead of us. We have a big challenge. We have to talk about what it takes to win the next basketball game.”
Baldwyn (24-5), ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, will play the winner of today’s Bassfield-Coahoma AHS game on Thursday night at 8:30 for title.
It took a gutsy effort in a defensive battle against the No. 2 Yellow Jackets.
Tevin Lindsey scored 14 points and freshman Duke Upshaw and Conner McKay, the coach’s son, scored 11 each.
“I think it was the little things,” said McKay. “We made free throws, had key block outs, but the biggest thing was we didn’t have a lot of turnovers.”
The game was back and forth through the first three quarters.
Baldwyn built its biggest lead early in the fourth quarter, taking a 35-27 lead on McKay’s 3-pointer. It came just moments after McKay hit a short jumper in the paint to end the third quarter.
“Conner gave us somce big baskets, but what he did great was not have turnovers,” said McKay about his freshman son. “He got the ball where it needed to be. I was very proud of him tonight.”
But Williams-Sullivan stormed back, finally knotting the score 45-45 on a 3-point play by Damarius Rocket with 1:26 left. But it was the final basket of the game for the Yellow Jackets, ending an emotional season.
Williams-Sullivan was banned from the playoffs by the Mississippi High School Activities Association in February because of actions of former coach Habray Carter. But the MHSAA executive committee reversed that decision a week later, reinstating the Yellow Jackets.
“It’s a painful feeling how we lost,” said Adam Wells, who took over coaching duties after the team was re-instated. “Kids won’t get any sleep tonight. This year has been full of adversity. Even through the adversity, we made it a few seconds from the state championship. We just couldn’t get it done.”
Kortez Wade led the Jackets with 13 points and eight rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as Wiliams-Sullivan fell in the semifinals for a second straight year.
“I thought everything that we did tonight was generated form the defensive end of the floor,” said McKay. “You think 50 points is not a lot of points, but when you look at the limited amount of possessions each team had and the defensive intensity on the floor, it wasn’t that bad of a game.”