Bulldogs are snowed out of action
By Jeff Myrick
Baldwin City Signal Editor
Old man winter wasn't kind to Baldwin High School athletics last week.
The five inches of snow Thursday forced school to be closed Thursday and Friday. Along with that, a wrestling dual Thursday, basketball Friday and tournaments Saturday had to be canceled.
The forced layoff meant different things to the two varsity basketball teams. For the girls, it was more of the same.
"This season has been extremely frustrating for everyone involved in our program," said Eric Toot, BHS girls basketball coach. "This is the third time in our season that we will have a layoff of 10 days or more between games due to various circumstances.
"Our girls love to play in games and have not had the opportunity to do so on a consistent basis," said Toot.
For BHS boys coach Jeff Haas, the cancellations are a mixed bag. On one hand it's good, because of senior Andrew Hannon's hand. The standout senior has missed more than a month of action because of a broken hand suffered in practice. Hannon returned last week, just in time for Friday's game that was canceled.
"While I welcome the extra practice time for our team, particularly in light of our present circumstances with Andy back in the lineup, the cancellations do present issues for us to address," said Haas. "The varsity will have gone nearly two weeks without an official game, which would be a concern to any coach.
"This time of year, you want to get into a 'rhythm' of playing which is difficult with the moves and cancellations," he said.
Games against Prairie View were rescheduled for Thursday. Then, the Bulldogs turn around and play Friday night at home against Eudora for King and Queen of Courts night. Both Haas and Toot welcome the return to the hardwood and think their teams will respond.
"It will be a great challenge for us to play back-to-back nights once again, but we should respond well since this is the fourth time we have done so this season," said Haas.
"I give the girls a lot of credit," said Toot. "They continue to stay positive and have been understanding about the situation. I feel bad for them because they are not getting a chance to do what they enjoy and that is to play basketball games."
Both coaches also lamented about the junior varsity and freshman games that have been lost, including tournaments for all four teams that were also canceled Saturday because of the snow.
"Our JV player's last game was Jan. 19 and they will not play again until Friday," said Toot. "It is difficult for players to continue to enjoy the season when they do not get a chance to compete."
"Scheduling conflicts prevent the JV and freshmen games from being made up at Prairie View. The tournaments we scheduled to play at those levels have been canceled as well," said Haas. "Those two teams now have far shorter seasons in terms of games than what we anticipated prior to the season."
As for how the teams are stacking up to this point, the BHS girls varsity is 11-2 overall and 5-0 in Frontier League play. The JV girls are 7-1 overall and 5-0 in league and the freshmen are 9-2 and 4-1.
At the varsity level, seniors Emily Brown and Kari Garrison are both averaging 14 points a game and Anna Gillispie, another senior, is at 8.2. Brown, who became BHS's all-time leading rebounder, leads there with nine rebounds per outing and senior Jamie Lawrenz is right behind with seven per game.
Garrison became the all-time leading 3-point shooter at BHS and has hit 33 of 85 this year. Gillispie is next with 17 of 50. Kalie Harris, who has played all 32 minutes in three games, tops the assists with 52. Garrison leads the way in steals with 33 and Gillispie has been best at the free throw line, hitting 30 of 35 for 85 percent.
BHS boys varsity is 6-10 overall and 4-2 in league play. Hannon was averaging 19.2 points per game before his injury. In his absence, the Bulldogs have shown balance, with sophomore Jeremy Wright topping the list at 9.5 points per game.
"We have been getting better in working as a team over the past few weeks which is illustrated by the fact that we are averaging just over 50 points a game as a team without any individual averaging double digits other than Andy, who has missed the last 11 games," said Haas. "Jeremy Wright emerged as the most consistent scoring threat with 9.5 per game, but several others are very close behind there.