Going into the final night of league play, the Robert W. Baird team was sure to be seeded last in the tournament. Led by Marquette players Jake Thomas and Derrick Wilson along with Belmont's Drew Windler, Baird only had one win and was going up against Junior Cadougan and Scion Dental, another expected loss. But something changed. Baird came out and played a zone defense. "Jake suggested we play a zone so we figured we would give it a shot and we really came together." said Drew Windler. It was as if the opposition was playing a different sport. Led by Drew Windler (24) and Austin Stueck (19), Baird ran away with that one 105-89, with six players finishing with double digits and a seventh had 8.
Coming into the tournament seeded 7th, Baird was to face off against Kameron Cerroni, JJ Panoske and #2 seed Schell Dentistry. Schell Dentistry had been one of the strongest teams all summer, but after losing both TJ Bray and Jimmy Sherburne of Princeton to injury and Kyle Kelm being out of town, they were short handed.
For the second time in two games, Baird came out in a zone defense and Schell Dentistry had no answer. Once again Baird ran away with it, 91-63. Jake Thomas led Baird's balanced attack with 21 points, Drew Windler added 17 and Garrett Swanson pulled down 10 rebounds.
Zone defense. Three games, three upsets. Up next is the championship game against League MVP Dejuante Wade and BrewCityBall.com, the league champions and overall #1 seed.
Playing without former Wisconsin player Boo Wade due to injury, Baird's zone defense cause problems for BrewCityBall.com as well. Despite a few strong runs in the 3rd & 4th quarters, Baird cruised down the stretch for a 93-74 win. Jake Thomas led the charge in the title game. The walk-on from Marquette could not be stopped, finishing just 3 rebounds short of a triple double. On the night he had 35 points (6-9 from 3pt), 10 assists and 7 rebounds. With his performance and leadership throughout the tournament, there is no question that Thomas was the tournament MVP. "It feels great." Said Thomas, "We finally played together as a team, and we really got it going." When asked about his call on the zone defense, Thomas wouldn't take credit, "Me and Derrick (Wilson) had been talking about it and we decided to bring it up with the team. It was both of us, I was just the one that said it to the team. Everyone thought we should give it a shot, we had a great group of guys on this team." In the tournament Thomas averaged 24.3 points, 6.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Thomas wasn't alone in the final, as the supporting cast was certainly pulling their weight. MSOE's Austin Steuck finished with 27 points, Drew Windler who is transferring from Samford to Belmont recorded a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and also had 6 assists.
For BrewCityBall.com Dejuante Wade dropped 26 points and 12 rebounds, UWGB's Carrington Love had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists and Antwand Roshell had 16 points and 9 rebounds.
|Baird vs BrewCityBall.com|
|BrewCityBall.com vs Baird|