By Matt Nestor
Nick Bauch and the Boylan Titans both entered the season with high expectations.
Bauch, a returning senior and one of the tallest players in the conference, was expected to dominate. The Titans arguably brought the most talent to the table in the conference and were expected to be among the best in the state.
While Boylan is deep and talented, most people overlook the fact that the Titans are actually a young team. Juniors Chris Miller and Armani Flannigan start, as does sophomore Austin Angel. Their best player off the bench is another junior, Jason Painter.
That is why having two experienced seniors, like starting guard Michael Morman and Bauch are extremely important to the Titans’ success.
“Having them, it’s tremendous,” Boylan coach Steve Goers said of his senior leaders. “They’ve been with me for a long time. They’ve been with us since sophomores on varsity. They do a great job.”
Bauch fills many roles for the Titans. He is the leader for a young group of post players, and if nothing else, he is a steady force for the Titans game in and game out, blocking shots, grabbing rebounds and scoring in double digits almost every game.
“I just try to do my job,” Bauch said. “They tell me to be a hockey goalie inside and let nothing in the lane. So I block shots, get every rebound I want to get. Just be a post presence. Being 6-foot-7, there are not a lot of teams that can match that.”
Bauch is more than that, too. He moves well on his feet and can handle the ball when necessary. He also said he has unknown range, even though the Titans don’t need it.
“I’m a 3-point shooter,” Bauch said of the hidden skill. “I can shoot the threes. But my game is inside.”
That size has been a great asset for Bauch. But more than anything, his quiet aggressiveness has led him to a solid senior season.
Bauch quietly goes about his business, but he has put up huge numbers this season. He’s averaged 12 points per game, six rebounds and three blocks. And when the conference title was on the line at Jefferson, it was Bauch who stepped up, not only scoring 16 points, but hitting eight free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
“It’s the best way to go out being that it’s my last year,” he said. “The conference championship is a great way to end it.”
But for Bauch and the Titans, they have much more lofty goals than conference crowns. Most consider the Titans one of the top 10 teams in the state and a team with legitimate championship aspirations. For Bauch, that just means making sure he leaves everything on the court at the end.
“This is it for me,” he said. “I love basketball. I have to play like this is the end. We got a win (at Harlem), and we have to keep winning. I don’t want it to end yet.”
From the Mar. 3-9, 2010 issue