Archive for Wednesday, January 21, 2004

BHS girls have action-packed week

January 21, 2004

By Jimmy Gillispie

Signal Sports Writer

After a week of four games and two milestones reached by senior Emily Brown, the Baldwin High School girls basketball team can now rest for at least six days before playing in the Top Gun Tournament.

On Friday, Brown became the seventh player to score 1,000 points in their career at Baldwin. She accomplished this on her first basket, as she was only one point shy of the mark after their game on Jan. 13.

Then she became the all-time leading rebounder at Baldwin during the first quarter on Monday. Toot called a time-out to acknowledge this achievement, and gave the game ball to Brown.

"She is a heck of a player," Toot said. "It's been a joy to coach her. Her stats back up how good she has been and will continue to be."

Both of the accomplishments surprised Brown, as she was unaware of either until they happened.

"I had no idea," Brown said. "It was pretty cool. We've had a lot of good basketball players come through Baldwin. It's pretty special to be a part of that group."

After losing its second game of the season on Saturday, the Baldwin High girls basketball team rebounded Monday night against Wellsville, winning 72-21, making its record 9-2.

"I thought overall we played well," coach Eric Toot said. "That's a tough game to be in, when you just have more talent then they do, and you know it. But I thought the girls concentrated most of the time, and did what they needed to do tonight."

Both teams struggled early with turnovers, but Baldwin eventually settled down and started making baskets. The Bulldogs went into halftime leading 35-5.

"We weren't hitting our shots in the first half, but our defense kept pressuring them," senior Anna Gillispie said. "That is how we scored. We kept the intensity up the rest of the game."

Baldwin dominated the game and started hitting shots from the outside in the third quarter. Gillispie led the team with 20 points and Brown was next with 12.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, headed out to Riley County, to face the No. 1 ranked team in 3A. The game was everything it looked to be, except for the result for Baldwin.

"I thought it was a good game for us, even though we came out on the short end of it," Toot said. "They are a good team and we need to play some games like that."

Baldwin started out quick, with senior Kari Garrison catching fire from long distance, as she scored 14 points in the first quarter. She wound up with 25 points for the game.

Baldwin led by six after the second and third quarters, but it was the fourth quarter, where the lead slipped.

"I am proud of how we played," Toot said. "Fundamentally, I think we got a little fatigued and that hurt us."

Riley County scored six points quickly in the fourth quarter, and ended up outscoring Baldwin 17-7 in the quarter. The host team went on to win 56-52, as its defensive pressure forced some turnovers from Baldwin.

"We didn't play outstanding, but we didn't play terrible," Brown said. "We probably lost some focus, because of the three hour bus ride out there. And it sucked because it was my birthday."

On Friday, Baldwin played its second road game of the week. But this game was against Gardner, and looked to be a good game on paper, but was far from being such.

Baldwin jumped out to a 17-4 lead after the first quarter, and then expanded its lead in the second to a 33-10 lead at halftime.

"I thought defensively we controlled the game," Toot said. "We just took them out of their offense. I think from that, we gained some confidence on offense and got some easy shots."

But tragedy struck the Bulldogs for the second year in a row. Sophomore Katelyn Miles tore her left ACL during a fast break on the first possession of the third quarter. Miles tore her right ACL last season, and tried very hard to come back and play this year.

"Emotionally, it hurts everyone, because of how hard she worked to get back this year," Brown said. "It definitely hurts our team."

Garrison knows Miles could play many positions, and somebody is going go have to step up and fill her role.

"We're just going to have to have some younger girls step up," Garrison said. "She is an all-around player. It's a hard position to fill, but hopefully we can do that."

Toot is well aware of the loss of Miles, but he said he felt much worse for her than the impact of the team.

"It's going to take some adjustment," Toot said. "She's a very important player to us. Our bench was definitely a lot shorter Saturday. It's almost like losing two players, because she not only was a back-up in the post, she was a back-up point guard and at times started for us. I feel worse for her than I do the team."

Baldwin went on to win the fourth quarter, and wrap up a 57-26 victory with a 3-pointer from sophomore Katie Krysztof. Garrison scored 19 for Baldwin, while Brown racked up 13 points and 13 rebounds.

The Bulldogs first road game of the week was against Osage City on Jan. 13. They won the game in easy fashion, 75-51, despite not playing their best game defensively.

"It was an entertaining game to watch," Toot said. "Offensively it was up and down, but I wish we would have been a little better on the defensive end. But overall I thought it was an exciting game."

Seniors Jamie Lawrenz, 10 points, Gillispie, 14, Garrison, 15, and Brown, 19, all scored in double figures for Baldwin.

"Four in double figures is kind of unusual, but balanced is not unusual," Toot said. "We are a very balanced team as far as scoring. That just goes to the unselfishness of the girls."

The Bulldogs next play in the Top Gun Tournament next week, which is hosted by Wellsville. Their seed and first game is still to be decided, but the tournament is played on Jan. 27, 29 and 31 at Wellsville.

"I think it will help us get a little recovery time," Toot said. "We're going to take a couple days off and get our legs back under us. I think this is a good time for it."

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