BHS girls struggle without Miles; split league games
In its nearly two games without senior Katelyn Miles, the Baldwin High School girls' basketball team has split its Frontier League games against Gardner and Eudora.
On Friday, the Bulldogs (15-4) traveled to Gardner, where they came away with a 33-28 victory in overtime.
"I thought it was a very, very gutty performance," coach Bob Martin said. "Offensively, it was an ugly game. The girls really fought hard and really gutted it out. I was really pleased about that."
During the first quarter of the game, with Baldwin trailing 4-2, Miles fell to the court after going after a rebound. She left the game and never returned.
According to BHS head trainer Gary Stevanus, Miles suffered an undisclosed knee injury during the game.
Despite the injury, the Bulldogs battled on to win the game. Martin knows the team struggled offensively, but he was proud of how they played hard without Miles.
"Their defense is pretty sound and they were giving us trouble," Martin said. "We had some open shots, but we just weren't hitting anything. Then with Katelyn (Miles) going down, I was proud that our girls really responded to that, because that was a tough situation."
Neither team could find any offense as the first quarter ended in a 4-4 tie. At halftime, the teams were tied at 10-10.
Gardner built a five-point lead during the third quarter, as Baldwin went more than four minutes without scoring. But the Bulldogs finished the period on a 5-0 spurt that ended with a three-pointer from junior Kelsey Verhaeghe as the quarter ended in a 17-17 tie.
In the fourth quarter, the Trailblazers once again took a lead and they led 25-21 with 1:45 left in the game. Verhaeghe sank two free throws with 1:02 remaining, before driving and making the game-tying lay-up with one second left in the game.
"Kelsey made a great play to send the game into overtime," Martin said. "The girls executed that play just as we set it up. Kelsey just made a great play. Once we got there, we had a chance to win."
Heckathorne also knew how important Verhaeghe's play was for the team.
"That was huge," Heckathorne said. "It was a really big play for us."
In overtime, the Bulldogs gained a quick 29-26 lead and never looked back as senior Ellie Meinen sank four of six free throws in the final minute.
"I thought we did a lot of things awfully well," Martin said of the overtime period. "If we hit all of our free throws, it's not close at the end. Ellie (Meinen) is usually one of our best free throw shooters, and I feel comfortable with her at the line. We did those little things we had to do to win."
Heckathorne said the Bulldogs played so well in overtime because they really wanted the victory.
"I think we were really motivated to go out and win the game," Heckathorne said. "We were all really happy with how we pulled together and how hard we fought tonight."
On Tuesday, the Bulldogs hosted rival Eudora on senior night. Baldwin lost the game 54-38.
"It was important to the seniors, because it was senior night," Martin said. "Of course, Eudora is a big game for us, so it was a tough loss. It doesn't have a bearing on the rest of the year a whole lot, so in that sense, it's not a really devastating loss. But it's always tough every time we lose to those guys."
All five seniors: Amy Craig, Jessica Hill, Denise Orloff, Miles and Meinen, started the game for Baldwin. Miles exited the game after playing one minute and never returned.
Baldwin only trailed 11-10 after the first quarter, but was never able to find its offense as Eudora took a 28-18 lead into halftime.
"Offensively, we got a lot of shots, but we just weren't hitting much," Martin said. "We turned it over a bit too much. We had trouble handling the press at times. Mostly, we got hurt on the boards tonight. I think that was the biggest thing."
The Cardinals kept increasing their lead throughout the second half, as Baldwin found no answer on defense.
"Defensively, it wasn't one of our better games," Martin said. "You have to give Eudora credit; they are a good offensive team. The biggest thing was, we got beat on the boards."
The Bulldogs next play at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Wellsville for their final regular season game. They will then host their first-round game of sub-state at 7 p.m. Monday against Osawatomie. Baldwin will also host the semifinal and final rounds of sub-state on Thursday and Saturday.
The Signal will give updates on the sub-state basketball tournaments as information becomes available on its Web site at www.baldwincity.com.