Bulldogs light up scoreboard in victory
EUDORA -- It was the highest offensive output in more than two years for the Baldwin High School girls' basketball program.
A 69-56 victory over Bishop Ward here Thursday gave the Bulldogs a third-place team plaque in the Eudora Tournament.
"I thought we played hard," coach Bob Martin said Thursday. "I thought we came out and competed tonight. It was a pretty up and down game and I was very happy with us tonight."
Junior Ashley Tucker was very thrilled about how many points the Bulldogs were able to score, considering their highest output last year was 57 points.
"We were very excited about that," Tucker said. "We have been working very hard offensively and it showed."
Martin was very pleased with the team's performance after the semifinal loss to Paola on Dec. 5.
"One thing we talked about after the game is seeing what kind of character we had coming back after a tough game like it was on Tuesday and see what kind of team we were," Martin said. "So I was very happy with them."
"I told them any team that gets two wins in this tournament has done really well," Martin said. "This is a very tough tournament."
Tucker also said the team wanted to bounce back after the previous loss and capture third place in the tournament.
"I was very happy," Tucker said. "We wanted to come out after our loss to Paola and do really good and I think we did."
Baldwin jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and never looked back. Despite a couple of ties, Baldwin never lost the lead in the game. Five different girls scored in the first quarter, giving BHS a 15-9 advantage.
Bishop Ward began the second quarter with a 6-0 run, but a three-point basket from senior Kelsey Verhaeghe ended that run. Tucker scored seven of the Bulldogs' points in the quarter, helping them to a 28-23 halftime lead.
"I just kept getting the ball and the defender was on my back side so I went to the hole strong," Tucker said.
A barrage of three-pointers opened Baldwin's lead early in the third quarter. Verhaeghe drained two before junior Callie Craig hit one of her own, all within the first 90 seconds of the half.
"They were big for us," Martin said of the threes. "It gave us a little bit of cushion and separation. We were able to keep that for the rest of the game."
Verhaeghe hit another three later in the quarter as Baldwin rolled to a 13-point lead after three quarters.
Bishop Ward rallied back early in the fourth quarter, but never got any closer than eight points. Both teams combined to shoot 25 free throws in the final five minutes of the foul-plagued quarter.
Baldwin only hit five of 14 free throws in the quarter.
"If we were able to connect on our free throws late it would have been a 20-point win," Martin said.
Despite missed foul shots late, Baldwin finished the game shooting 56 percent from the line. The Bulldogs shot 39 percent from the field.
"Offensively we got a lot of things done pretty much the whole game," Martin said. "I really think it was the flurry at the start of the third quarter that gave us a little bit of space."
Verhaeghe and Tucker led Baldwin in scoring with 15 points each. Junior Heather Garcia also scored in double digits with 10 points.
Martin was very happy with the offensive balance his team has displayed in the early season games.
"That's what we would like to have," Martin said. "Kelsey got hot at one time and our two post players, Becca (Stroman) and Ashley, had a great night. They had 24 points and 19 rebounds between them. That was a pretty good night out of them. I've been really happy with them."
Baldwin will next play at 6 p.m. Friday at Central Heights. The junior varsity team will play at 5:30 p.m. and the freshman team will play at 8 p.m.