Baldwin's Kirk Staine is defended by opponent Christian White of...

Baldwin's Kirk Staine is defended by opponent Christian White of Aquinas Institute at the NYSPHSAA Boys Basketball Tournament. (March 17, 2012) Credit: Pat Orr

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. -- The Bruins couldn't find their shots during the game or answers after it.

Feeling as if they let a very winnable game slip away, the Bruins unsuccessfully searched for an explanation after yesterday's 50-41 loss to Rochester Aquinas Institute in the Class AA state semifinals at Glens Falls Civic Center.

"Honestly, I'm not sure what happened," senior point guard Brandon Williams said when asked about Baldwin's offensive struggles. "I feel like we were the better team, we just came up short. Shots weren't falling."

Baldwin shot just 27.2 percent, including 3-for-19 from three-point range, and scored a season-low 41 points. After getting to the foul line 66 times over their previous two games, the Bruins made only two of five free throws yesterday, numbers indicative of settling for outside jumpers rather than attacking the basket.

"Aquinas is a very good team but I thought this was a winnable game," Baldwin coach Darius Burton said. "Our defense did a good job for the most part. Our goal is to keep our opponent under 55, which we did. We held them to 15 points in the first half. But when you struggle shooting the way we did, it's tough."

Hassan Keita drained a three and Kyle Richardson hit two free throws to pull Baldwin within two early in the fourth quarter. But Aquinas continued to use its size advantage to establish position down low and went on an 11-2 run, capped by a pair of easy baskets by Jarron Jones to take its biggest lead of the game at 47-36 with 2:25 remaining.

Jones finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds, including eight of Aquinas' 23 offensive rebounds. The 6-6 Jones combined with the 6-7 Phil Valenti, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds, to help Aquinas (21-2) outrebound Baldwin 61-33.

Kirk Staine led Baldwin, which had a 16-15 lead at the half, with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Mykeil Tzul added 10 points and five assists and Richardson had six points and eight rebounds. Williams, who entered the game averaging 16 points and 8.7 assists in the postseason, sat for a majority of the first half because of early foul trouble and was held to three points.

"It was a great season, we came a long way," said Williams, who will attend Molloy in the fall. "I love these guys, they are like my second family . . . Now it's time to prepare for Molloy and do big things over there."

With 11 of the 17 members on the team being seniors, the Bruins took time to reflect on a season in which they carried a 17-game winning streak into yesterday's game, upset unbeaten Uniondale in the county final and captured the second Long Island Championship in program history.

"This season has meant a lot to us," Staine said. "It will be something that we can look back on."

"We had a great season, winning the Long Island Championship," Richardson said. "Not everybody can say they made it this far in their high school career so we're going to keep our heads up high. We had some great accomplishments."


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