BHS girls bounce back after loss
With a split in two games last, including a close loss to No. 1-ranked Spring Hill, the Baldwin High School Bulldog girls know where they stand for the upcoming Class 4A sub-state tournament in DeSoto.
"We're going to be the second seed," said coach Eric Toot. "Probably more than likely we'll play Eudora at home in the first round on Monday."
The Mill Valley Sub-state will be a tough one, with that same No. 1-ranked Spring Hill squad standing as the major obstacle for a trip to Salina and the state tournament. But, two Kansas City teams, Ward and Piper, also offer strong competition as the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds. Other teams involved are DeSoto, Perry-Lecompton, Eudora and Mill Valley.
"It's something we need to get prepared for," Toot said of sub-state play. "We've got three games this week, so we need to get better in those games."
BHS played Osawatomie Tuesday night, but results weren't available by press time. On Thursday, the Bulldogs travel to Prairie View for a weather-related make-up game. On Friday is the regular-season finale at home against Louisburg.
The Bulldogs got a start on that sub-state preparation with last week's game. First was the 62-58 loss to the Broncos. Then, on Friday, BHS bounced back with a 61-44 win over Paola.
A dreadful third quarter is what did the Bulldogs in against Spring Hill. The Bulldogs took a 16-13 first-quarter lead, but trailed 27-26 at halftime. In the third quarter Spring Hill went on a 17-6 run that proved to be the difference.
"We struggled in the third quarter and that was the difference in the game," he said. "We made a run at them in the fourth quarter, but that's hard to do against a good team.
"We had a few turnovers that led to easy baskets for them in the third quarter. We also missed some shots that we normally make," said Toot. "We whittled it back and got within three points in the fourth quarter, but they hit some free throws when we were forced to foul."
BHS's fourth-quarter surge ended with a 26-18 advantage, but it wasn't enough. The Bulldogs were troubled with a turnover bug that hadn't bitten before this season.
"We turned the ball over too much 19 times," he said. "We haven't had that problem this year, but Spring Hill plays good defense and that's what happens. We're the two best defensive teams around.
"I was pleased with our effort," said Toot. "We're hoping to see them again (in sub-state)."
BHS had three players in double digits with senior Colleen Kivett leading the way with 18 points. Fellow seniors Jodie Bacon and Casey Millstein both added a dozen points.
It would have been easy to let down after the battle with the top-ranked team and that had Toot and assistant Bob Martin worried. But, the Bulldogs didn't let it happen and blasted Paola to stake claim on second place in the Frontier League behind Spring Hill.
"Coach Martin and I were concerned about a letdown, but we had our best half-court game of the season," said Toot. "We didn't get any layups off the press. It wall in our offense. It was great execution."
BHS surged to a 19-8 first-quarter lead behind Emily Brown's 13 points in the post. The Bulldogs were up 37-19 at halftime and held on from there.
The offensive execution led to an inside-outside combination that was deadly. Brown and Millstein topped the scoring with 17 and 13 points, respectively, and swing player Anna Skaggs added 11. That was complimented by the guards on the outside with eight-of-16 shooting from the 3-point line.
"Emily and Casey dominated on the inside. We just executed very well," he said. "Emily and Casey controlled the inside and both of Paola's post players were all-league last year.
"The guards got them the ball and we've been stressing that of late," said Toot.
The split left Baldwin High with a 14-3 overall record and a 6-1 league mark. Tuesday's game with Osawatomie counted towards sub-state pairings, but wouldn't change seedings regardless of the outcome. It is also a league game, as is Friday's Louisburg game, but Spring Hill is unbeaten in league with just one game left and that's against Wellsville.
Also at Friday's Louisburg game will be senior recognition night and the 1982 state championship team will be recognized for its accomplishment 20 years ago.
"It's great to recognize that team. It's a reflection on our program," said Toot.