Bulldogs hoping to overcome offensive woes in opener
Returning all but two players from last year's team that went deep into sub-state, the Baldwin High School girls' basketball team will use experience as it opens the season Friday.
The Bulldogs will play their first game of the season at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Baldwin Junior High School gym against the Santa Fe Trail Chargers.
"I think we are ready to play and Santa Fe Trail is a good opponent for us," senior Denise Orloff said. "It will be a challenge for us and I think we will do well."
Coach Bob Martin also said the Chargers would be a tough game for Baldwin.
"We've got a pretty good challenge," Martin said. "Santa Fe Trail is going to be a really good team. I think they are going to be a challenge for us and we are going to have to rely on our experience."
Despite offensive troubles last season, the Bulldogs managed to make it to the sub-state finals, where Iola defeated them.
Martin knows defensive pressure kept the Bulldogs close in many games last year. He also knows the team must improve offensively.
"We were really strong defensively last year and struggled on the offensive end," Martin said. "We think we are going to be better this year. I think as we get into the year, we will be."
This year, BHS has been focusing on offense in practice, while still working the kinks out of the defense.
"Defensively, I think we are really sound right now," Martin said. "Offensively, we are still learning our things to do and getting used to each other. Defense is always ahead of offense at this time of the year. I think that is what you will see Friday night."
Orloff believes the offense will show improvement come Friday night.
"We have been focusing a lot more on our offense," Orloff said. "Our defense is definitely there and we are working out some kinks in our offense. But we are going to be there by Friday."
Senior Jessica Hill said the team knows its defense is solid, so it has been focusing elsewhere in practice.
"We are pretty good at defense, because it comes easy to us," Hill said. "Offense has been our focus for the week."
During the nearly three weeks of practice, BHS has been trying many things to put more points on the scoreboard.
"We are working on swinging the ball around more and being more patient," Orloff said. "We are looking inside a little more and also making the defense move more."
Hill said that if the team relaxes on offense, then the results will be positive.
"I think as long as we calm ourselves down on offense, then we should be ready, because our defense is great," Hill said.
The Bulldogs also hope experience will help the team offensively, since hardly any players had varsity playing time last season.
"The seniors have been really good so far," Martin said. "They have done everything we have asked of them. They provide great leadership and they are playing really well right now."
Last year, Baldwin defeated SFT on the road 52-46 to start the season. But Friday's game will be a home contest, the only one for Baldwin before Christmas break.
"It's nice to start with a home game," Martin said. "It will be our first one until January. We get to show off our new uniforms, so I think the girls are pretty excited about it."
Martin knows the girls are ready to play someone other than each other.
"I think they are really eager to play," Martin said. "We are getting used to kind of playing each other right now, so we know each other too well. That's why I think they are ready to play somebody else."
Orloff said the five seniors are very excited for the opening game.
"I think we are ready to go," Orloff said. "The seniors are pumped and we are trying to get everybody excited about Friday."
The BHS junior varsity girls begin action at 5 p.m. Friday in the BJHS gym. The varsity team will follow, with the freshman team to play around 8 p.m. in the BHS gym.
The varsity Bulldogs will start play in the Paola Tournament Monday. The freshman team will play Perry-Lecompton at 5 p.m. Monday.