BHS girls knock off Anderson County
Friday's match-up of state-ranked Bulldogs, Baldwin High School and Anderson County, proved to be everything that was expected. BHS dodged a bullet late in the game to take a 51-47 win.
It was one of those nailbiters that the Baldwin High girls are known for and it wasn't decided until senior Colleen Kivett put a pair of free throws and a 12-footer together with 2:14 left for a seven-point lead at 49-42. Senior guard Jodie Bacon helped ice the game with pair of free throws as BHS held on for the win.
"It was a good win on Friday," coach Eric Toot said of the home opener. "We played a good team on Friday and got a win. It's always good to win the close ones."
And a close one it was. Anderson County, which was ranked in Class 4A until injuries and losses knocked the Bulldogs out, opened up the early lead at 13-9 in the first quarter. BHS answered with back-to-back 3-pointers by junior guard Kayla Pringle and Kivett to open the second quarter and pull within one. Kivett then added a follow shot and a 15-footer to pull BHS into the lead at 19-16.
The half ended with Baldwin up 25-0. Sophomore post Emily Brown hit a follow shot to open the second half to give BHS a seven-point lead. That would be as big as it would get. Anderson County's Lexey McDonald put on a one-person show to keep her Bulldogs in the game. McDonald hit a variety of inside and outside shots on her way to a 26-point night.
"Lexey McDonald is obviously one of the best players in the state," said Toot. "She's a Division I player who signed with Toledo State. I thought we did some things to bother her, but she handled it.
"They had their players back (from injuries) and played very well," he said. "I was proud of how we stayed with it. We didn't have any breaks, like the fluke technical foul."
BHS maintained a two to five-point lead until just into the third quarter when a near disaster occurred. Brown was going back in the game and was listening to Toot for instructions when she heard the buzzer sound and stepped on the court. However, the officials had not waved her in and they called the technical with BHS leading by five.
"The referees did the right thing," said Toot. "She heard the buzzer, but was listening and looking at me and went in. It was the right call. It wasn't her fault. It was a one-in-million thing.
"Our team responded. We were up five points and that cut it to one, but we responded," he said. "It was just one of those things in sports. You think you've seen everything and then you see something like that. It could have been disaster, but we battled back."
Anderson County took advantage with the technical free throws and eventually tied it up at 38-38. After trading turnovers, Kivett nailed a 10-footer at the 6:22 mark for a 40-38 lead. Pringle then canned another 3-pointer for a five-point edge and BHS held off Anderson County from there.
Kivett had the big night, scoring a season-high 19 points, but she also played well defensively, drawing McDonald for most of the night while BHS tried different defenses on her.
"Colleen really played well," said Toot. "She did a lot of good things defensively, making her earn her points. We ran a few different players at her. We tried a zone for awhile, too, but their coach handled the changes well."
Bacon was also in double digits with 13 points as Baldwin High moved its record to 4-1.
"It was a good win," he said. "It was the first home game and against a good team. They'll definitely be one of the better teams.
"I think we're playing well," said Toot. "Defensively, I think we're playing real well. On offense, we're having some good stretches, but we've got to eliminate the bad stretches."
There is also a marked improvement over a season ago that has him real excited.
"Our turnovers are way down from last year, which is very positive," he said. "There are just some streaks where we're missing some shots and making turnovers."
BHS only had 13 turnovers against Anderson County and five of those were unforced. That leaves room for even more improvement, he said.
Baldwin High didn't have long to savor the win. The Bulldogs took on No. 1 ranked Ottawa Tuesday night. Results weren't available by press time.
"Yes, we sure do have another big one," said Toot of the Ottawa game. "I'm excited about this one. Paola played them close Friday (43-37). I think it will be a good basketball game.
"It'll give us a chance to see where we're at before Christmas. It will be one more test," he said.
The Bulldogs won't play again until Jan. 4 when they play host to Paola. Game time is 6:30 p.m.