Bulldog girls take big wins
What a week it was for the Baldwin High School girls. A pair of victories put them in good shape for a run at the Frontier League title and a top spot in sub-state play.
First BHS started off with a 49-44 win over Spring Hill, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A, on Tuesday. Spring Hill has a 16-3 record, but two of those losses have come to the Bulldogs. Then, on senior recognition night, BHS polished off Paola 41-25, a team that had handled the Bulldogs easily earlier in the year. It was the Class 5A Panther's first league loss of the year.
The pair of victories left BHS with a 14-3 overall record, 5-1 in the league. The Bulldogs played at Osawatomie Tuesday (results weren't available by press time), will play host to Eudora Thursday at 5 p.m. in a make-up game and at Louisburg Friday. Victories would ensure a tie for the league crown with Paola and a No. 3 seed in the Baldwin Class 4A Sub-State Tournament next week.
"We couldn't have asked for a better week," said coach Eric Toot. "It was a great week for the girls. We only have one league loss. If we take care of business this week, we can tie for the league title."
As for sub-state, it looks like Burlington will be the top seed, Ottawa No. 2, BHS No. 3 and Anderson County No. 4. Those teams would have first-round sub-state games at home Tuesday. BHS's likely opponent is Iola. There's an outside chance it could be Prairie View.
But, it wouldn't be that way without last week's results. Friday's win was special for many reasons. Revenge over Paola and a share of the league title were important. But, senior Suzie Weege, who has started every game this year, was joined by classmates Kristen Wessel, Tarin Troth and Mandy Moore in the starting lineup, along with junior Colleen Kivett. That all helped, too.
"Friday night just kind of went perfect from the start," said Toot. "They've (the seniors) have all played and are important to our team. They deserve it."
BHS opened a slim 10-8 first-quarter lead in the hard-fought, defensive-minded game. By halftime, the Bulldogs were up 18-14. A 14-6 third quarter opened the game up and BHS put it away with a 10-4 advantage in the fourth.
"Everybody played well," he said. "We've improved since we played Paola the first time. The first time they were more aggressive and physical. Our defense has improved. We were in the right position, where we weren't the last time."
Kivett and 6-foot-1 freshman Emily Brown both wound up with 14 points to lead the Bulldogs.
As or the Spring Hill game, what another doozy. It was tied 12-12 after the first quarter. Spring Hill took a three-point advantage at halftime, 20-17. BHS chipped that down to two in third quarter, outscoring the Broncos 15-14.
Down by two heading in the fourth frame, BHS went on a 17-10 roll that meant the difference. Junior guard Jodie Bacon made the big difference, scoring 10 of her game-high 18 points down the stretch.
"We just outscored them 17-10 in the fourth quarter," said Toot. "It was a close game and I thought we'd put it together and we did.
"Those were two very big wins for our team," he said. "I thought we had improved, but this showed it. It's a credit to the team. That's what I'm excited about. We're improving at the right time.
Also in double digits against Spring Hill were Brown with 13 points and Kivett with 10.
Toot is especially excited about hosting the sub-state, with the second and third round games scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
"We're really looking forward to our chances at sub-state," he said. "If people come out to watch the tournament, they're going to see some good basketball."