Archive for Thursday, February 17, 2005

Column: Girls rivalry provides another classic game

February 17, 2005

Rivalry week produced some great games around the country, and another classic game between Baldwin High School girls and rival Spring Hill.

Last week was "Rivalry Week" for NCAA basketball, and it featured some great games, like North Carolina vs. Duke and Kansas vs. Kansas State.

In the big game Wednesday night, Duke led by one, but UNC had the ball with 17 seconds left. UNC guard Raymond Felton could have taken a wide open shot or even drove in for a lay-up, but the play was designed to go to Rashad McCants. Unfortunately, he was blanketed by Duke guard J.J. Reddick, who knew the play. Felton passed the ball to David Noel, but Noel dribbled out of bounds as time ran out. It was another great game between those teams.

Last Tuesday night, No. 1 and still undefeated Illinois survived a scare at Michigan, winning 57-51, and Boston College lost its first game of the season at Notre Dame, 68-65.

And of course KU continued its streak over KSU last Wednesday night. KU has now beaten KSU 29 straight times and 22 consecutive times in Manhattan. KU did struggle to beat an improving KSU team, but rivalry games are almost always close.

But one of the best rivalry games happened right here in Baldwin City. The rivalry between Baldwin and Spring Hill girls teams has been building the past few years. Spring Hill has knocked Baldwin out of sub-state the past three years, only adding fuel to the fire for Baldwin.

Two years ago the two teams met in the sub-state final, and Baldwin came back to gain a five-point lead with less than a minute left in the game. But Spring Hill was fouled on a three-pointer and eventually tied the game and won 54-46 in overtime. Baldwin's only two losses that year came at the hands of Spring Hill.

Then, last year, Baldwin beat Spring Hill in the league game 48-47, despite having a much better record than the Broncos. But Spring Hill got revenge in the sub-state semifinals, as it overcame a nine-point fourth quarter lead to win 49-48 over the Bulldogs. That game surprised many people and left a sick feeling in the heart of Baldwin fans, including myself.

So the two teams met this year in third-place game of the Top Gun Tournament. Baldwin trailed by 17 points in the first half, but came back and forced overtime, only to lose 65-60.

Then they met again on Thursday night at the junior high gym, also known as "The Pit." The game came down to the final minute, where Baldwin was forced to foul and hope for some missed free throws. Spring Hill only missed two free throws the entire night, one of those being the final one.

So Baldwin had the ball but trailed by one-point with 10.4 seconds left. Ellie Meinen dribbled the ball up court and dished to an open Kelsey Verhaeghe. Verhaeghe, one of Baldwin's best shooters, if not the best, was unable to hit the shot as time ran out.

So once again, the Baldwin and Spring Hill game was decided by one-point, as it has been three of the last four times. Neither team is quite as good as they have been the last couple years, but the game is always close and fun to watch.

I hope Baldwin gets paired up with Spring Hill during sub-state, which will probably happen anyway, like it has the last three years. But I hope Baldwin gets its revenge, because it will be the third time to play this year, and third time's a charm, right?

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