In Baldwin, it’s referred to as a Bruin Run.
With relentless pressure on the defensive end, which leads to easy buckets on the offense, it’s the type of blitz that can take a tie game at halftime and turn it into a 20-point blowout by the middle of the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter of Baldwin’s 68-49 boys basketball win over Campus Magnet (Queens) in a non-league game Friday, Jared Rhoden had the signature play when Baldwin was in the middle of big run.
In a single instant, all of the Baldwin fans’ pent up emotion that carried over from a frustrating first half was released. Rhoden stole the ball, led a breakaway floor and cocked his arm back before throwing down an emphatic dunk to give the Bruins a 13-point lead with six minutes left.
“Felt pretty good,” said Rhoden, who had 25 points, six rebounds, five steals and two blocks. “Hadn’t been up there in a while.”
Baldwin’s lead peaked at 66-44 on a free throw by Elijah Bovell (eight points) midway through the fourth.
Who’d have guessed it was tied at 26 at the half?
After Baldwin (2-0) went up 18-11 in the first quarter, Campus Magnet scored eight of its 15 second-quarter points at the free-throw line.
“[Campus Magnet] is from Queens, so they’re going to play physical” said senior guard Shane Gatling, who had 15 points, five assists and two steals. “We played physical back at them, and it led to some fouls in the second.”
To open the third, Jabeon Bivins drained a three-pointer. After a Baldwin steal, he hit a transition layup. Rhoden had an offensive put-back for another two points and before Campus Magnet could blink, the team was down 33-26 just 85 seconds into the third quarter.
“We go on one of those runs,” Gatling said, “and never look back.”
Center Justin Caldwell added eight points and seven rebounds.
Gatling is the only returning starter from last year’s Baldwin team that won a Nassau title, and Rhoden, a 6-6 junior who averaged eight points last year, has an expanded role.
“The team gets better during the season,” 16th-year coach Darius Burton said, “but individuals get better in the offseason. And Jared did tremendous work this offseason. He’s become one of the best players on the Island, in my eyes.”