Girls fall victim to turnovers, poor shooting
What's with this with Auld Lang Sign? Should old acquaintance be forgot? Well, if you ask the Baldwin High School girls, the New Year didn't get off to a good start, thanks to a couple of old acquaintances. The Bulldogs would like to forget them.
BHS opened the 2001 portion of the schedule Friday at Paola and got decked 49-38 to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten. Then No. 3 ranked Anderson County took a 53-49 victory in overtime Saturday.
It wasn't a good way to ring in the New Year, but Bulldog coach Eric Toot knows why it happened.
"Those were two very good teams," said Toot. "We didn't play well Friday. We competed, but we didn't play well. We played well Saturday, but didn't shoot well."
The turnover bug bit big time Friday against a cat-quick Paola Panther squad. A combination of 11 turnovers and steals in the first quarter alone spelled doom for BHS. By the time the game ended, those numbers were pushing towards 30.
Paola stormed to a 13-3 first quarter lead and it didn't look good for the Bulldogs. But, they held tough and refused to be put away. A 3-pointer by senior Suzie Weege and two buckets by sophomore Anna Skaggs in the last two minutes kept BHS within 22-13 at halftime.
Paola added another two points to its lead in the third quarter to go up 34-23. Still, the Bulldogs didn't give in. Freshman Emily Brown canned a 5-footer with 6:18 left to pull BHS within six at 34-28. That's as close as it got. Paola pulled away again, but a pair of 3-pointers by Weege and Skaggs a pair of free throws by junior Colleen Kivett narrowed it to six again at 44-38 with 1:27 left. This time, the Panthers put it away for good, hitting a layup and three of four free throws for the final 49-38 margin.
It didn't get easier for BHS Saturday on the home court of Anderson County's No. 3 Class 4A ranked Bulldog squad. But, Baldwin High fared better, except for dreadful shooting. BHS shot 26 percent from the field, which proved to be the Bulldog's undoing.
But, it didn't start out that way. Kivett opened the game by scoring seven of BHS's 13 points as BHS jumped to a 13-7 lead. Anderson County cut that to 13-11 at the end of the first quarter and eventually took its first lead late in the second quarter. But a three-point play by Kivett with 13 seconds left in the half gave Baldwin High a 23-21 lead at the break.
It didn't last long. Anderson County went ahead in the third quarter, but could only manage a four-point lead. A three-footer by senior Tarin Troth and two free throws by Bacon gave BHS the lead back at 32-31 with 1:13 left. Again Anderson County answered to wrest the advantage away, but Kivett tied it once again at 34-34 with a follow shot at the buzzer.
It was more of the same in the final frame. Anderson County would get a two-point lead, only to see Baldwin retie it. But, Anderson County put a 6-0 run together and was up 44-38 with 1:26 left in the game. BHS wasn't done yet. Brown and Weege combined for three free throws and Skaggs hit a five-footer to pull BHS with two at 45-43 with 24 seconds left.
After a missed Anderson County free throw with 19 seconds remaining, strangeness took over. A referee inadvertently blew his whistle with six seconds left and stopped play as a result about four seconds later. Following a length discussion, six seconds were put back on the clock. Brown then promptly hit an inside shot to send the game into overtime at 45-45.
There Anderson County used six free throws to go along with a layup, while BHS could manage just four free throws, as the home-town Bulldogs won 53-49.
Despite the loss, Toot was pleased with how the team responded following the loss Friday. However, the 26 percent shooting was costly.
"I thought we played well in every other facet of the game," he said. "I was proud of the way we came back after the game Friday. Friday I was disappointed not with the loss, but how we played. Saturday I was pleased. That was the No. 3 team in the state and we took them to the wire."
The loss ended BHS's unbeaten streak and left the Bulldogs with a 5-2 record. Toot didn't expect that string to last long.
"I didn't expect to go through our schedule and be unbeaten," he said. "I think we've got the toughest schedule in the state of Kansas and we're in the toughest league in the state of Kansas."
He also thinks the roughest part of the schedule is over and is looking forward to what lies ahead.
"I think the last seven games was the toughest stretch," said Toot. "We haven't played at home since Dec. 1. I'm just looking forward to the rest of the season.
"We learned how good we can be and that we can compete with some of the best teams in the state," he said.
Baldwin High was ranked as high as No. 7 in the Class 4A polls during the unbeaten stretch and actually moved up to No. 6 in this week's Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll which came out Tuesday. But, more importantly, the Bulldogs learned never to give up and was witnessed by several remarkable last minute victories. That showed even in the two losses.
"We were down six with six minutes to go against Paola and were down six with a minute and half left against Anderson County and still battled tough," said Toot. "They just don't panic."
In the Anderson County game, Kivett led the way with 17 points and Brown had nine. Against Paola, Skaggs had nine points, Bacon eight and Brown seven.
BHS played Osage City Tuesday night, but results weren't available by press time. The Bulldogs will also play host to Gardner Friday, with game time around 6:30 p.m.
"Osage City is a good Class 3A team. Being at home will be a big advantage," he said. "Gardner is pretty good. They've got two 6-foot girls and are 4-2 right now."
After that will be the Top Gun Tournament at Wellsville. It will feature several teams with one or fewer losses and should provide another good test.
"We could go into the Wellsville tournament with an 8-2 record and be seeded fifth," said Toot.
In junior varsity play, BHS split a pair, beating Paola Friday 46-36 behind 24 points from Kayla Pringle, but losing to Anderson County 45-35.