BHS girls rebound with sub-state victory
It was almost like deja vu for the Baldwin High School girls in the first round of sub-state play here Monday. Almost.
Friday night the BHS girls saw a late-game lead slip away and fell 58-56 in overtime to the Louisburg Wildcats. Turnovers plagued the Bulldogs, especially down the stretch.
But they didn't have to wait long for a rematch. The Bulldogs had drawn the Wildcats for the sub-state opener. This time around BHS again built the late-game lead, were again plagued by turnovers, but this time they held on for a 50-43 win to advance to Thursday's second-round in the Burlington Sub-State Tournament.
"It wasn't revenge, it was a must-win situation," said coach Mike Berg. "We had to win tonight and we have a lot of competitors. They came to play and to win, and that's what happened."
BHS was up 25-18 at halftime Monday. But the turnover bug bit again and Louisburg took a 28-27 lead with just under three minutes left in the third quarter.
Three straight buckets by junior Suzie Weege, sophomore Jodie Bacon and senior Amber Frost put BHS back in control at 33-28. Then, with just under two seconds left in the quarter, senior Crystal Tutschulte put an old-fashioned three-point-play together with an inside shot that she was fouled on and converted the free throw to put the Bulldogs up 36-28 going into the stretch run.
BHS pushed that lead to 10 points on another Bacon bucket a minute into the fourth quarter. Then the turnovers came again. Louisburg pulled within four, but sophomore Colleen Kivett canned an 18-footer and Frost turned in another three-point-play to put BHS in control for good at 45-36 with 3:38 left.
The Wildcats had one last surge left, though. A 3-pointer with 33 seconds left pulled them within five points, they started fouling and BHS free throw shooters were unable to convert one-and-ones. But when Tutschulte went to the line with 5.1 seconds left, she sank both free throws to wrap up the seven-point win.
There were two big differences Monday night from the late-game meltdown Friday. When it mattered most, BHS concentrated on getting the ball inside and cut down on the turnovers at crunch time.
"We slowed it down when we had to," said Berg. "We got the ball inside. I was proud of the girls. We took the ball strong to the hole when we got it inside, too."
The other big difference was a defensive switch. Friday Louisburg's Krystal Bowes killed BHS with her outside shooting and scored 16 points. Monday, the Bulldogs had a different plan and she only scored eight points.
"We kept Bowes from catching the ball by playing a diamond-and-one," he said. "She hit a couple of 3s, but we slowed her down. You can't totally stop someone like that, but you can slow them down."
Now the Bulldogs will try to slow down the turnovers. They had 24 in Friday's loss and another 27 Tuesday in the victory. They'll have to cut those down when they play Santa Fe Trail Thursday in the second round at Burlington. SFT only has one loss on the season, while BHS stands at 16-4.
"We've got to win and we don't have the home-court advantage. No one does," said Berg.
Tournament finals are set for Saturday at Burlington.
In Monday's victory, both Frost and Tutschulte scored 16 points. On Friday, Frost had 23 points and Tutschulte had 20. Friday's loss didn't stop the Bulldogs from reclaiming the Frontier League title. They wound up as co-champions this year after finishing second last year.
Both the BHS junior varsity and freshmen teams closed out the season with a pair of victories last week.
The BHS JV beat Louisburg 62-21 and Osawatomie 59-9. In the Louisburg game, Casey Millstein had 14 points and Bacon had 12. Against Osawatomie, Millstein had 14 points and Anna Skaggs and Kristen Wessel both added 11. The JV team only lost one game all season.
The BHS freshmen closed out an unbeaten 20-0 season with the two wins. Against Louisburg, Kayla Pringle had 14 points in BHS's 51-19 win. The Bulldogs beat Osawatomie 51-17 behind 15 points from Katie Martin.