Boys basketball loses to Central, despite record-breaking night for Wesling


Carson Chapel

The Highlanders’ boys basketball team lost to Central Catholic on Friday.

Carson Chapel and Jacob Staley

The Baldwin boys basketball team lost a close playoff game Friday to Central Catholic, 80-75, despite senior James Wesling setting a WPIAL 6A playoff record 41 points.

Wesling also scored his 1,000 point as a Highlander, becoming only the eighth boy to reach that milestone.

Junior Nate Richards saluted Wesling’s achievements.

“It was crazy seeing him score 41 points,” he said. “Doing that in a playoff game is basically unheard of.”

On Friday, Wesling went head-to-head with one of the top players in the WPIAL, Dante DePante, who scored 34 points for Central.

It was a back and forth game, with many lead changes even though Baldwin was an underdog going into the game. Despite the loss, the Highlanders were happy with the team’s overall performance.

“We executed pretty well as a team offensively and defensively,” Richards said. “We were moving the ball well and talking on defense.”

Wesling agreed.

“We battled neck and neck with Central the entire game. We matched their physicality and intensity,” Wesling said.

Central down the stretch was able to hit some crucial shots to put them ahead of Baldwin in the final moments.

“They hit some big shots and were a physical team,” Wesling said.

With this being Baldwin’s second consecutive season in the playoffs, the players were used to the big crowd in the stands.

“The atmosphere was pretty awesome. It was much louder because a lot more people were there. There was a lot of energy from both fan bases,” Wesling said.

“It was crazy to play in front of a jam -packed crowd. The energy in there was just insane.” Richards said.

Richards recognizes the true impact that playoffs have, bringing out the best in players.

“It’s completely different. Everyone knows their season is on the line and no one wants to go home a loser, so it’s intense.” he said.

Wesling was hoping that the Highlanders would make a playoff run.

“This is an emotional loss. It was my final high school game and I really thought this team was going to surprise people,” he said.

Richards hopes the team can have the same success or more going into next year, as long as they can make the proper improvements.

“Next year we are looking to improve a lot of things, like our tempo and defense,” he said.

While the Highlanders look to improve on their game for next season, Wesling looks forward to the future.

“I plan on playing at the college level, D2 or D3 level. College basketball is a much different game, so I have to get more physical – stronger and faster. It’s going to be a time to improve on everything,” Wesling said.

“I would like to say thank you to the Baldwin community, students, and staff for all their support,” Wesling said.