Bulldogs bomb away at Ottawa, win by 19
OTTAWA -- Since losing its first game on Dec. 9, the Baldwin High School girls' basketball team has been waiting to avenge last year's 44-36 loss to Ottawa, which is exactly what it did here Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs (4-1) used hot three-point shooting to defeat the Cyclones 54-35 after not playing a game for more than three weeks.
"Of course, it's always fun beating Ottawa, but it's also fun coming back after the break and getting a win," coach Bob Martin said. "We've been off for a long time. I thought we played well tonight."
Baldwin High School junior Kelsey Verhaeghe, who led the Bulldogs with 17 points, was happy to get the win.
"It was good to win, because we played hard, especially coming back from the break," Verhaeghe said. "We played really well as a team."
Martin was especially pleased with how the team played coming off a three-week lay off.
"You don't know how you are going to come out," Martin said. "We have been practicing really well, but for us to come out like that was nice."
The Bulldogs came out scorching hot as BHS senior Ellie Meinen and Verhaeghe combined to hit three three-pointers in the opening three minutes and give BHS an early 10-2 lead.
"We came out fired up with lots of energy and we were ready to play," Verhaeghe said.
Baldwin continued its hot shooting and good defense as it led 21-7 after the first quarter, with the help of another three-pointer by Meinen.
Martin was happy with the way the Bulldogs ran their offense early in the game.
"I thought we were pretty sharp," Martin said. "We shot well. We moved the ball well. We did the things we wanted to on offense and got the shots we wanted. I was pretty happy with that."
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs opened their lead up with the help of two more three-pointers. BHS seniors Katelyn Miles and Jessica Hill each drained a shot from behind the arc.
Baldwin outscored Ottawa 12-5 in the quarter and headed into halftime leading 33-12.
"I thought our first half was our best first half this year," Martin said.
Both teams battled back and forth in the third quarter. Verhaeghe helped Baldwin by hitting two more three-pointers. Baldwin still led 45-27 after three quarters.
Neither team scored many points in the final quarter as the Bulldogs played many of their younger players for most of the quarter. BHS held on to its lead to win its fourth game of the season.
"Our goal wasn't really just to hang on to the lead, but when you get that kind of a lead you come out a little flat," Martin said. "You have to give Ottawa some credit for how hard they played. They were scrappy."
One reason the Bulldogs had success Tuesday was because of their outside shooting. They hit eight three-pointers in the game.
"We were kind of waiting for Kelsey to break lose, because she hadn't done it yet," Martin said. "Then Ellie hit a couple. Those are nice and it changes what they have to do to stop you."
Verhaeghe wasn't quite sure why she was hitting her shots, but she said the team's confidence was lifted Tuesday.
"Our shots were falling, so that helped our confidence," Verhaeghe said. "I have been practicing a lot. The shots were just falling tonight."
Meinen was second-leading scorer for Baldwin as she put up 13 points. Miles added 10, while Hill also added six in her first start of the year.
Baldwin hit 16 of 24 free throws, while Ottawa only made three of its 14 attempts.
Verhaeghe was happy to come away with the victory and hopes the team will take momentum from it.
"It was nice to win our first league and first game after break, and hopefully we will continue playing strong," Verhaeghe said.
Martin also hopes the win will propel the Bulldogs into the rest of the season.
"I hope we can get on a little bit of a roll now," Martin said.
The Bulldogs next play at 6:30 p.m. Friday at home against Central Heights. Then they play at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Osawatomie.