After playing six of its first seven games on the road, Baldwin High's boys basketball team is ready to stay home for a while.
"We've only played one home game," Baldwin coach Heath Cooper said. "Playing at home really helps, but good teams find ways to win on road."
The Bulldogs haven't done that, though, entering the first round of the Baldwin Invitational at 7:30 tonight against Anderson County with a 2-5 record.
"I think we have some fairly talented guys," Cooper said, "but we just can't get over the hump because we're not competing right now. ... We're not physical, and we're not getting the ball inside the way we should."
Playing five of the next six games at home could help the Bulldogs, who are led by junior guard Aaron Hannon's average of 11 points a game.
Anderson County defeated Baldwin three times last year, but Cooper said he liked his team's draw.
"They're beatable, but so are we -- as we've shown so far," he said.
If Baldwin advances, it likely would face a semifinal matchup with Missouri power Lincoln Prep, which faces Wellsville (2-5) at 7:30 tonight.
"I really want to play those guys," Cooper said. "I've been talking to our guys for a while about playing Lincoln Prep. That would be a really good opportunity for our guys. I would think they're the favorite, but I wouldn't fall asleep on that Turner team. They're pretty good."
Kansas City Turner (2-5) defeated Baldwin, 73-58, Friday in Kansas City. Cooper said the Bears' record was misleading because Turner had three players -- including Aaron Jackson, who scored 19 against Baldwin -- who regained their eligibility at semester break.
K.C. Turner opens at 6 tonight against Mill Valley (5-2), which has dropped two in a row after a 5-0 start. Ottawa (4-4) faces Augusta in the other 6 p.m. game.
McLouth (0-6) will face a solid Shawnee Maranatha club in the first round of its tournament at 7:30 tonight. The Bulldogs, who are looking for their first victory, practiced just once last week because of the weather.
"It was like a second Christmas break," coach Chad Brown said. "It's been kind of brutal."
McLouth has struggled with inexperience after returning just two varsity players -- Kevin Stewart and Jimmy Steffey -- from last year's team.
Stewart leads the team in scoring, averaging 14.8 points a game.
"We need to find some other scorers to help him," Brown said. "Our biggest bugaboo has been our shooting. We've had great looks at the basket, and we've had good shot selection, but we're shooting 32 percent from the field."
Two other area teams will square off at 6 p.m. when Oskaloosa takes on Perry-Lecompton (1-5). Joe Crawford leads Oskaloosa with an average of 18 points a game.
Oskaloosa had two games postponed by the weather last week.
"We haven't had a practice in I don't know how long," said Oskie coach Scott Whaley, whose team was 3-3 heading into Monday night's makeup game in Topeka at Cair Paravel. "It's been forever."
Host Tonganoxie (2-6) and Eudora (2-6) both will try to stop four-game skids today in the Tonganoxie boys tournament. Eudora will play Leavenworth Immaculata at 4:30 p.m., and Tonganoxie will face Jeff West at 7:30 p.m. In the girls tournament, Tonganoxie (6-2) will take a four-game winning streak into a 6 p.m. game against Atchison.
Santa Fe Trail's girls and boys will face Sabetha in the first round today. The girls game is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with the boys to follow at 8:15 p.m.