Late free throws aid Bulldogs in victory
It took making five of six free throws in the final two minutes of the game, but the Baldwin High School girls' basketball team hung on to defeat Louisburg 40-37 at home Tuesday night.
"It was a pretty hard-nose win tonight," coach Bob Martin said. "We had to play hard tonight to win, and we did. I knew it was going to be a battle. They are a good team and it's a quality win for us."
The Bulldogs (14-3) needed free throws from seniors Katelyn Miles and Denise Orloff to pull out the victory.
"They were good to have," Miles said. "I always try to picture the state championship on the line. It was a close game, so any free throws were critical. They really helped."
Louisburg tied the game at 33-33 with 2:29 to go in the game. Then Miles hit a pair of free throws to take a two-point lead.
Then each team exchanged baskets and the score was again tied at 37-37 with 1:12 left. Orloff hit one of her two free throws and then Miles sank both of hers, giving the Bulldogs a 40-37 lead. The Wildcats threw up one last shot to tie the game, but missed.
Martin was proud of how the team played during the final minutes.
"I thought we made some good decisions, we hit our free throws and I thought we played really well defensively down the stretch," Martin said. "We also had a couple of big stops at the end of the game."
Miles agreed, saying the Bulldogs didn't play well the entire game, but when it counted they did.
"We had our good and bad moments," Miles said. "In the first half, we weren't really taking good shots and in the second half we improved our defense. Down the stretch we played with poise."
Both teams started the game slow, but two three-pointers by junior Kelsey Verhaeghe helped give Baldwin a 10-5 lead after the first quarter.
Louisburg went on a 9-1 run to start the second quarter, before BHS senior Amy Craig drained a three-pointer to tie the game at 14-14. The Wildcats took a 21-19 lead into halftime.
"It took us a while to get some things straightened out defensively," Martin said. "But I feel we played really well defensively in the second half."
Baldwin held the Wildcats to only one point in the third quarter. Baldwin took a 25-22 lead into the fourth quarter.
Louisburg began the fourth quarter with a 7-2 run to take a 29-27 lead. Senior Ellie Meinen later made a three-pointer that gave Baldwin a 33-31 lead. Then the BHS seniors came up with a few defensive stops and points to win the game.
"It felt good to win," Miles said. "We knew coming in that they were a tough team with a pretty good record. So we really wanted to come out well tonight."
Martin said the team didn't shoot the ball well, but winning those games is very important.
"We are going to play a lot of games like that," Martin said. "Nights when we shoot well, we are going to win pretty easily. We've got to keep plugging away at it."
The Bulldogs next game is at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Gardner.
"It's going to be another tough game," Martin said. "We have got to compete well there. I told the girls this is the time of year to really be playing well and really competing. We will have to do that Friday."