Baldwin's 40 lead Elgin to win at Marengo
There was only one time the Elgin boys basketball team trailed against Rockford Christian, a 2-1 score in the opening minutes of a Monday morning tilt at the 65th Annual E.C. Nichols Holiday Classic in Marengo. After that, Lavion Baldwin hit a 3-pointer and kept hitting baskets as the Maroons cruised to an 80-64 win.
Baldwin missed just 4 shots from the field in the first half, netting 23 of Elgin's 40 points en route to a career-best 40 points in the game, adding in 8 rebounds and 5 steals for good measure.
"He got off to a fast start, which was big for him, and he dominated early and got us into the flow of the game," Maroons' coach Mike Sitter said of the junior Baldwin. "He's got a nice all-around game, and sometimes he settles for too many jumpers. We told him that he was shooting 75 percent at the rim and he didn't have to go outside, and I think he mixed it up well today."
Sitting right at that 75 percent mark for the day inside the 3-point arc, Baldwin did most his work inside the painted area, but still knocked in crucial 3s when needed.
"(The coaches) always tell me to attack, attack, attack; that I'm too big and too strong to be settling for jump shots," Baldwin said. "I just attacked the rim and went with it."
After Baldwin hit his first 3 of the day in the first quarter and baskets were traded back-and-forth, Elgin went on an 8-0 run and tried to close Rockford Christian out early. However, the Royals (5-4) would respond with their own 8-0 run, getting to within 1 before a final Maroon basket ended the quarter at 19-16.
That lead would swell to 10 points at halftime for the Maroons (3-8) but could have been more if not for Baldwin as Rockford Christian had a hot-handed player itself.
Brandon Williams almost went shot-for-shot with Baldwin in the first half, scoring 18 of his team's 30 points by the buzzer. Williams finished with 32 points in the game, but according to Sitter could have had more if the Royals had found him more in the second half.
"We didn't change a thing (defensively) in the second half," Sitter said. "We got lucky they stopped going to him. He could have had 50 if he wanted it. If we struggled with him we are going to struggle with the bigs in our conference as well."
Thanks to a flurry of baskets late the lead got up to 16 for the Maroons. Chaquile Bennett and Alonzo Golliday finished with 10 points each while Desmond Douglas added 7 for Elgin, which will play Woodstock North at noon on Tuesday, the winner advancing to Saturday's consolation championship game.