Bulldogs improving on offense
With an experience-led team, Baldwin High School girls' basketball coach Bob Martin hopes to build off last year's sub-state success in his first year as head coach of the team.
The Bulldogs made it to the sub-state final last year, despite having an 11-12 record and being the No. 7 seed in the tournament.
Since that game, the Bulldogs have changed coaches and the team has been striving for success.
"I think practice has gone really good," Martin said. "The girls have been really enthusiastic and they have been working hard. This has always been a really hard working bunch."
BHS senior Ellie Meinen said practices have been good, because the team has turned up the intensity already.
"We are working pretty hard and the intensity is high for as early in the season as it is," Meinen said.
?????????Meinen is one of five seniors for Baldwin. She is joined by fellow seniors Amy Craig, Jessica Hill, Katelyn Miles and Denise Orloff.
Craig also likes the way practices have gone so far.
"I think it's going really good," Craig said. "I think it's gone a lot smoother, since we all know what's going on."
The seniors, along with juniors Amanda Vander Tuig and Kelsey Verhaeghe, are all returning players that started last year. These players will help give the Bulldogs the experience needed to be successful.
"We've got five seniors and they are a pretty good group of leaders," Martin said. "Last year, not many of them had varsity experience as juniors. I think they learned a lot last year."
Meinen knows the team gained valuable playing time last year and will be able to use that this year to their advantage.
"With the experience we got last year, the five seniors and juniors will step up and we won't have a problem with experience," Meinen said. "There will be plenty to go around."
Craig also knows how important experience is in any sport.
"I think leadership is a big part in basketball, just because you have to know what's going on and know the circumstances," Craig said.
Martin is pretty sure the leadership will help, but he hopes it will benefit the team the most on the offensive side.
"It ought to help us, and hopefully on the offensive end," Martin said. "Last year we struggled a bit offensively and I think that is where it will pay off this year. I think they will be more comfortable, know the offense better and relax a bit more."
Team defense and pressuring the ball were two things the Bulldogs were successful at last year, as many of their games were low scoring. Once again, Baldwin will rely on its defense for help.
"That's what we are basing a lot of our game on," Martin said. "We have been a good defensive team and that's going to keep us in games."
Since the defensive part of the game is already understood, the Bulldogs have been working on improving their offense.
"Our shots are looking a lot better," Meinen said. "We are just working on our shooting. Our defense will always be there. We are trying to make our offense more consistent."
Martin believes the Bulldogs' offense should improve, because the system is basically the same and the girls are playing more relaxed.
"We are running the same system, so that is going to help," Martin said. "They are comfortable with it. I think a lot of it is them just learning to relax and execute the offense a little bit better."
The Bulldogs scrimmaged Saturday during practice, but will not be hosting a scrimmage this weekend as they have in the past.
After watching the scrimmage, Martin believes the team needs more practice before its first game Dec. 2.