Aaron Baune put an end to West Albany High’s five-game winning streak.
The versatile senior post poured in 36 points while swatting and altering several West shot attempts, lifting visiting McMinnville to a 75-57 victory in Tuesday night’s Greater Valley Conference boys basketball game.
“(Baune) just killed us, he single-handedly killed us” said Bulldogs (7-5, 2-3) coach Derek Duman, whose team hadn’t lost since Dec. 16. “We knew he was really good and we tried to put some things in that would help stop him, and we just didn’t really execute those things very well. He got in a rhythm, he got going and we struggled to slow him down.”
Baune did most of his first-half damage from the perimeter, knocking down five 3-pointers as the Grizzlies (10-2, 3-2) seized a 40-32 lead at the break. The 6-foot-6 Baune collected all 15 of his second-half points from the paint or the foul line.
For most of the opening half, West had its biggest player — Chase LaPerle — defend Baune. Wing Oreon Courtney took over for large portions of the second half.
“We thought if he was going to beat us, let him score two points at a time instead of three,” Duman said. “We just thought mathematically that would work out better for us. And he got to the free-throw line a lot, which helped him get some of those easy points.”
Courtney, a junior, led the Bulldogs with 20 points. Fellow junior Cassius McGinty recorded 19 points while Nick Renyer had nine off the bench.
Parker Spence tallied 16 points for McMinnville. The junior guard nailed a trio of third-quarter 3-pointers as the visitors’ eight-point halftime lead grew to 61-45 heading to the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies, who have now won seven straight games, led by no fewer than 13 the rest of the way.
“I thought we did some good things, it just seemed like we couldn’t get shots to go in in strings,” Duman said. “We’d hit a shot here or there, but we had a couple rim-outs.”
West came up empty on its first three possessions before a Courtney putback cut the deficit to 5-2. Baune (seven) and Luke Arzner (six) netted the Grizzlies’ first 13 points as the visitors built an early nine-point advantage.
The Bulldogs responded with a 13-0 run and took a 17-16 lead into the second period after McMinnville’s Tyler Logsdon buried a last-second 3.
“I thought we were tentative to start, and we were down early because of it,” Duman said. “When we got some stops on the defensive end and were able to run in transition, it really opened up our offense.”
The Grizzlies began the second quarter on a 12-2 spurt to go up 28-19. A Courtney steal and two-handed flush trimmed McMinnville’s lead to one, but hot shooting from Baune extended it to 40-32 by halftime.
Baune connected on five 3s while tallying 21 first-half points. Fifteen of McGinty’s 19 came before the break.
West will try to start a new winning streak Friday at West Salem (8-5, 3-2).
“Every night is tough in this league,” Duman said. “And that’s kind of the fun part about it because you know you have a chance to win every night, but you also know you have a chance to lose every night.
“It’s really just about our execution. I didn’t think we executed our game plan defensively really well tonight. If we execute that better it doesn’t guarantee us a win, but it gives us a better chance. So I think that’s the focus these next few days: execute, execute, execute.”