WATCH: Baldwin Boys Basketball Readies for Challenging Season
The Highlanders play in perhaps the WPIAL's toughest section.
"He loves the game more than anyone else."
Those were the words of Head Coach Joseph Urmann when describing Baldwin High School junior Arnes Bajgora at a Baldwin High boys basketball practice on Monday night.
But for Baldwin's varsity squad to have a shot at the playoffs this season, they'll need Bajgora to play the game better than most anyone else, too.
Such is life for the 6-foot-6 forward, who will be counted on for a lot of the Highlanders' offense and defense this season, as he represents, really, the team's only varsity-ready size and physical presence.
But Urmann has pointed to a few other players on the 2012-13 version of the Highlanders who will be there with Bajgora every step of the way, including senior point guard A.J. Greco, the player mostly responsible for running the team's offense and getting the ball into the big man's hands.
Bajgora and Greco will certainly have their hands full once again this season in trying to earn a playoffs spot out of the ultra-competitive WPIAL AAAA Section 4, which includes rivals Mt. Lebanon, Bethel Park and Peters Township high schools, among others.
There is some good news, though, as perennial power Chartiers Valley High School, the section's defending champion, has moved down to AAA. Things don't get too much easier, however, as up take Chartiers Valley's spot is Trinity High School, a AAA quarterfinalist a season ago.
Baldwin (9-13 overall) just missed the playoffs in 2011-12, finishing one game behind Peters Township for Section 4's fourth and final postseason spot.
The Highlanders will be without three important graduates from this past season—guards/forwards Jordan Hartman and Charlie Wallander and guard Eric Michalski. All three players were big contributors for Baldwin, and they scraped the sky at 6-foot-4, 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-2, respectively.
Along with Bajgora and Greco, senior forward Jake Michaels, senior guard Stefan Ayers and sophomore forward Doug Altavilla are also expected to see significant minutes for Baldwin this season.
The Highlanders will need each of them—and their teammates—to have good seasons in order for Baldwin to compete in the heavy Section 4.
View the video above to see a preview of the Highlanders' 2012-13 campaign, which officially starts on Dec. 7 and 8 with a non-section tournament at North Hills High School.
This will be Urmann's second season at Baldwin. He is assisted by Mike Voelker in his fourth season, Dan Leslie in his second season and Steve Sinning in his first.
Sign up for the daily Baldwin-Whitehall newsletter.