Baldwin Baldwin High's pair of Brians, in front of a nearly full house, crumbled Rock Creek on Friday night.
Brian Sheldon led all scorers with 25 points, while guard Brian Heck canned 10-of-13 shots and tied a season-high with 22 points as the Bulldogs claimed a 68-50 semifinal victory in the Baldwin Invitational basketball tournament.
The Bulldogs earned their third straight championship game appearance. They've lost in the finals the past two seasons.
Sheldon, who started on both runnerup squads, said he hoped this year wouldn't make three of a kind.
"I have a feeling we're going to play better this year in the finals," he said. "We've been knocking on the door for quite some time and it's about time we opened it."
BALDWIN WILL meet Santa Fe Trail, a 56-42 winner over Wellsville in Friday's other semi, at 8:15 tonight.
Baldwin opened with a big run Friday night. Point guard Denver Cleverly hit a three-pointer and Heck followed with two field goals and a free throw to give the 'Dogs a quick 8-0 lead.
"The key was getting on them early," coach Bob Martin said. "They are the kind of team that doesn't play that well from behind. They are a very patient team, and we forced them to do some things they didn't want to do."
Baldwin's pressure defense forced the Mustangs to turn the ball over six times before even attempting a shot. Rock Creek had eight first quarter turnovers and attempted just seven shots.
After trailing by 17 at halftime, the Mustangs opened the second half with a 10-0 run, cutting the margin to 35-28 at 4:37 in the third quarter.
"IF WE'RE going to go to state, we'll have to keep it up both halves. That's one of our real weaknesses right now," said Sheldon, a 6-5 senior. "The real good teams will come back on us."
A bucket by Sheldon ended Rock Creek's run, and Baldwin's defense held the Mustangs to just six baskets in the final 12 minutes.
The Bulldogs hit 55 percent while Rock Creek shot 43 percent.
"I think this was out best game overall," Heck said. "I thought we played well the whole game, or at least most of it."
Santa Fe Trail is only 4-6 and was seventh-seeded going into the tourney, but Martin is wary.
"I watched them play earlier in the year, and they are a vastly improved team," Martin said. "They are playing awfully well right now and they do some things that could give us trouble."
ROCK CREEK (50)
Eric Baker 0-1 0-0 0, Scott Plummer 6-9 0-0 15, Kacy Turnbull 0-1 0-0 0, Brian Ebert 4-12 4-4 13, Mark Higgins 5-8 2-3 12, Chris Morland 1-4 0-0 2, Dustin Siegle 2-7 2-2 6, Todd Prockish 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 19-44 8-9 50. BALDWIN (68)
Nate Perry 0-1 0-0 0, Jamie Sledd 1-1 0-0 2, Brian Sheldon 10-23 5-7 25, Brian Heck 10-13 2-3 22, Daniel Schwarz 0-1 1-3 1, Denver Cleverly 3-6 4-6 11, Ryan Ellis 1-1 0-0 2, Johnny Hendry 2-3 1-1 5. Totals 27-49 13-20 68. Rock Creek-- 8 10 14 18 -- 50 Baldwin--18 17 12 21 -- 68
Three-point goals -- Rock Creek 4-13 (Plummer 3-4, Higgins 0-1, Ebert 1-8); Baldwin 1-5 (Sheldon 0-1, Heck 0-1, Cleverly 1-3). Total fouls -- Rock Creek 19, Baldwin 14. Fouled out -- Siegle. Turnovers -- Rock Creek 16, Baldwin 10.