BHS girls ‘intense’ in victory over Paola
By Jimmy Gillispie
Signal Sports Writer
The Baldwin High School girls basketball team defeated Paola High School 56-43 by jumping out to an early lead and playing more aggressive at home on Jan. 6.
"I thought throughout the game, we had a more consistent effort on intensity," coach Eric Toot said. "We didn't have as many down times during the game that we've been struggling with."
The Bulldogs took advantage of a quick start, which came from their defense creating easy shots and two 3-pointers by senior Kari Garrison late in the first quarter.
"We played very well," senior Jamie Lawrenz said. "We started off really well and carried it through the game."
Toot said the Paola and Ottawa games were very similar in how the team played more aggressively.
"Our last two games have definitely been out best games," Toot said. "I thought our execution on the offensive end was the best it's been all year. I thought we were able to get the ball to the high post, and from there get a lot of good shots."
The Bulldogs led after the first quarter 17-6. But the Panthers cut the lead in the second quarter by outscoring the Bulldogs 16-12.
Paola continued cutting the margin early in the third quarter, and even tied the game at 32-32. But Baldwin had seen enough, as it went on a spurt of its own to finish out the third quarter leading 45-32.
"They slowly chipped away and came back, but you expect that from a good team," Toot said of Paola. "I didn't think we were going to blow them out by any means. I knew they would fight back and come back. It wasn't that we were playing poorly, it's just your team looks a lot better when shots are going in."
Both teams traded baskets during the final period, with each team scoring 11 points. Baldwin was able to hang on and win the game and move to 4-0 in the Frontier League.
"I think by far that was our best complete game for a full four quarters," senior Emily Brown said. "That was our best offensively and defensively."
Brown also said the early lead is something the team talks about before each game.
"It's nice to have an early lead, so you kind of have that cushion," Brown said. "We get into our huddle before the game and always say lets jump on them early. We always try to do that."
Toot knows the team's intensity level has risen the last two games, and credits that to some of their easy shots.
"A lot of it has to do with being intense," Toot said. "Our defensive effort relies so much on intensity and playing hard. And we can come out fresh and excited to play, we were able to take advantage of that. And we turned turnovers into easy baskets."
The Bulldogs traveled to Osage City Tuesday night, but the results weren't available at press time. That was the first of many road games for Baldwin.
The Bulldogs play at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at Gardner, and then come back and play at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at Riley County. Then they play at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at Wellsville.
"I think it's a good test, because it's much like a tournament," Toot said about the road games. "Going into sub-state, that's very similar to what you'll you have to do. It's a good time of the year for it."