CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - After dropping four straight and six of their last seven games, the McDonell Macks boys basketball team shifted into a new gear and blew by their next three opponents - Regis, Cadott and Stanley-Boyd - to a 6-2 record in the Western Cloverbelt. A key reason for their resurgence last week: the 83 points registered by senior and scoring leader Hayden Baughman.
“I was just trying to go out there and relax and play," explained Baughman. "(Head coach) Archie (Sherbinow) wanted me to go out there and play defense, so that’s what I really went out there and tried to do. I wanted to get stops, I wanted to get the ball back and it just led to playing better basketball. With better basketball comes more points I guess.”
Last Tuesday, Baughman netted a career-high 33 points in an 84-53 win at Cadott. It wasn’t just his scoring that helped McDonell cruise to victory, he also dished out four dimes, grabbed four boards, had three blocks and came up with six steals.
“That means he’s intense and focused on the defensive end," said head coach Archie Sherbinow. "He’s seeing the ball defensively and being able to get tips and steals and go the other way. Again, creating possessions for us. We’re a high possession team and when he rebounds and creates those steals we get more possessions.”
With their recent hot streak, the Macks have moved into second place in their conference. Back in mid-November when Hayden Baughman signed to play college ball for Concordia-St. Paul, he hoped McDonell could claim a Cloverbelt title in his final season. Coach Sherbinow says if Baughman continues to work on his leadership that the Macks have a shot.
“We need him to lead us the rest of the way by doing the little things that we talked about. Again rebounding, sharing the ball," added Coach Sherbinow. "So, I think just his leadership skills have really come along and needs to continue to do that for the rest of the year for us to get some good things done.”
Entering the final stretch of conference play McDonell sits just a game back from Osseo-Fairchild. The Macks only play once this week, their third straight road contest at Thorp on Thursday.