BHS girls nab another close pair
Baldwin High School's girls, better known as the "cardiac kids," were at it again last week, picking up a pair of victories, but only by slim margins.
Last Tuesday, Baldwin High topped Osage City 61-58 and then turned around Friday with another three-point win over Gardner, 46-43.
"Those are huge wins," said coach Eric Toot. "They seem to make good plays when they have to, especially at the end of games. Gardner is a good team. I was proud of how we played. It came down to a couple of plays here and there."
But that's been the Bulldog's formula all season. With a few exceptions, their games have been tight.
"I think we've been real fortunate to win a lot of close games and I think that will help us down the road," said Toot. "Our last four wins have been by a total of eight points three, three, one and one. The last six games have been close and we're 4-2 in those games. We're learning how to win."
One of the lessons the Bulldogs haven't quite learned is how to keep a lead. In both games they were able to put eight to 10 point leads together, but couldn't keep them.
Against Gardner, BHS put together a 10-point bulge in the first half with about two minutes left, but Gardner whittled it back. Junior Colleen Kivett hit a layup with 48 seconds remaining to put it back to 25-16, but again Gardner answered and the lead was at seven at the buzzer.
A 3-pointer just into the second half by junior Jodie Bacon put BHS up 28-20, but Baldwin would never lead by as much again. From there on out, the lead hovered between two and five points for the most part.
Gardner tied it at the early stages of the fourth quarter, but Kivett nailed a 3-pointer. The two teams battled to two more ties before Bacon gave BHS the lead for good with a 3-pointer with 1:59 left. An inside move and a free throw by freshman 6-footer Emily Brown sealed the game as the Bulldogs held on for the three-point win.
It was a similar offensive story for BHS in the three-point win over Osage City. Toot knows the reason for it.
"We're really struggling right now with consistency," he said. "We'll have a good streak and then play badly and let people stay with us. But, we'll make big plays at the end to win it.
"Defensively I thought we played real good all around in both games," said Toot. "Offensively, we'll get better. We're making some bad decisions right now bad passes, forced plays. We have taken some bad shots in the last few games, too, but it's more passing the ball and making the right decisions."
Against Gardner, Brown topped the scoring with 13 points. Kivett added nine points and junior Casey Millstein had eight. Against Osage City, Kivett led the way with 16 points, followed by Millstein with 14 and Brown with 10. Several other Bulldogs have contributed double-digit scoring in other games and the balance causes problems for other teams.
"I think that's one of our strengths," said Toot. "I talk to other coaches and they say they can't concentrate on stopping one or two of our players. Balanced scoring really helps you out. There's no doubt Colleen could score 15 points a game, but she doesn't worry about that.
"I think that has to do with our team being unselfish," he said. "We take what the other team gives us. Our depth has been the key to a lot of our wins. We've got 10 or 11 girls who can step in and help us and that helps in the close games."
The victories boosted BHS's record to 7-2 overall and 2-2 in Frontier League play. Next action for the Bulldogs is Thursday at Wellsville. Next week they'll be playing in the Top Gun Tournament at Wellsville.
"It's going to be a real tough tournament, a real tough test," he said.