Bulldogs finish runner-up to tournament host Paola
PAOLA -- Despite not practicing all of last week, the Baldwin High School girls' basketball teams were able to come away from the Panther Invitational with a second-place finish here Friday night.
The Bulldogs (3-1) finished the tournament with a 64-43 loss to Paola in the championship game.
"We are disappointed in the loss, but the effort was pretty good," coach Bob Martin said. "We will try and take that and get better from it."
Junior Kelsey Verhaeghe also thought the team can learn from its loss.
"We gave them good competition," Verhaeghe said. "They are a really good team. This will help us look at what we need to improve on."
Junior Amanda Vander Tuig said the Bulldogs were ready to play against a team as good as Paola.
"We were fired up, because they are a good team," Vander Tuig said. "It's always good to play a team like that to see how you measure up and where you are at early in the season. Hopefully, we will give them a better run for their money in January."
To start the game, neither team scored for three minutes, until BHS senior Denise Orloff put in a layup. Paola then went on a 10-0 run in the next 1:09 to take a quick 10-2 lead.
"They had some spurts on us," Verhaeghe said. "We just needed to cut back on those, but they are going to happen."
Baldwin finished the quarter with four points from Orloff to cut the lead to 16-9. The second quarter was fairly even as Baldwin trailed 34-23 at halftime.
In the middle of the third quarter, the Bulldogs still trailed by 11, until Paola went on a 12-2 run in 1:37 to open its lead up.
"We had a couple of stretches where we broke down," Martin said. "We know they are the kind of team that keeps a lot of pressure up on you and they get in some runs. We let them get on a couple of runs and get some distance between us."
Both teams were able to play some younger players during the fourth quarter as the game was out of reach for Baldwin.
Verhaeghe led Baldwin with 13 points, including six for six from the free thrown line. Orloff added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Martin said the Panthers had some players that were tough for Baldwin to guard.
"They have a couple players that we had trouble matching up with," Martin said. "We need to take this game and kind of build on it."
Vander Tuig said the team was glad to be playing in the championship, but wished the results were different.
"We want to play for championships this season," Vander Tuig said. "Getting to the championship was kind of our goal. Hopefully as we move on to the Top Gun and sub-state, we will be able to pull off a victory."
The Bulldogs have been focusing on improving the offense and Verhaeghe believes it's already showing.
"I think we are playing a lot more together," Verhaeghe said. "Everything seems to be flowing together better this year."
Martin also said the offense is showing signs of improvement, but still needs some work.
"We are really starting to get a feel for the offense a bit, so we need to continue to work on that," Martin said. "Our shooting isn't what we think it is going to be. I think we need to get in a little bit better shape."
Vander Tuig said the team is already improving and will continue to over the break.
"We are slowly progressing and beginning to play better together," Vander Tuig said. "There is still a lot of work to do over break, but we are willing to put in the time to do the things we want to do toward the end of the season."
The Bulldogs next game is at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 3 at Ottawa. Martin likes where the team is at, but would have liked to be undefeated.
"I would rather be 4-0, but 3-1 is all right," Martin said. "There are a lot of teams that aren't 3-1, so we are happy with that."