Turnovers, rebounding woes doom BHS girls
LOUISBURG -- Rebounding and turnover problems doomed the Baldwin High School girls' basketball team here Friday night.
The Bulldogs struggled against the much taller Louisburg team in the final game of the first-ever Wildcat/Bulldog Classic. BHS (1-2) lost 49-38 to the Wildcats.
"We struggled pretty badly last week," coach Bob Martin said. "We got out rebounded pretty badly and we turned the ball over too much, which kept us from having a chance to win that game."
Senior Ashley Tucker said the Bulldogs played a decent game, but not well enough to beat a good Louisburg squad.
"I think we played well, but we could have played better," Tucker said. "We knew that Louisburg was going to be a good team and that we were going to have to come out ready to play, but we didn't really do that."
Baldwin struggled on the boards for the second straight contest. Louisburg used its size to get second and third chances to score on the offensive end. Both of the Wildcats' 5-foot-11 centers controlled the inside as they rebounded and scored the ball all night long.
Turnovers also plagued the Bulldogs Friday night.
Martin hopes the team can correct both of those issues quickly.
"We need to work fundamentally on it," Martin said of rebounding. "A little bit of if is our state of mind. We are not a very big team so we knew it would be a problem. To stay even on the boards will take a little bit from us. We need to improve in other areas, too, but we will get better at it.
"I think we need to take care of the ball a little bit better," he said. "We expect our guards to do that, because we are shooting the ball fairly well."
Tucker agreed with her coach, saying their lack of size can't be an excuse.
"We had too many turnovers and we weren't getting the rebounds," Tucker said. "Those are the two things that really hurt us. We're obviously not a very big team, so boxing out and rebounding is really important for us."
Baldwin never led in Friday's contest. It tied Louisburg 5-5 early in the game, but a 7-0 LHS run would separate the two teams. Baldwin was never able to battle back from that deficit.
The Wildcats opened up their lead to 14 points at halftime at 33-19. They finished the second quarter on a 10-2 run during the final 3:05.
"We've been having problems with starting slow lately," Tucker said. "We get behind and then start to come back, but can never quite do it. I think we just rush ourselves too much, on both offense and defense. It's just the little things that we need to do, the things that we know how to do. If we do those things, I don't think we'd be in those types of situations."
Baldwin trailed by nearly 10 points for the entirety of the third quarter. It never let the Wildcats run away from them, but could never catch up much, either.
During the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs closed the gap to seven points with 2:20 remaining. However, Louisburg finished the game with a 5-1 advantage to seal its victory.
"We got ourselves into a hole in the first half, but I thought we played well in the second half," Martin said. "I thought we had a chance to come back in it, but we just weren't clicking well enough offensively to challenge them."
Although the Bulldogs lost their second straight game, Martin was still proud of his players' effort Friday.
"I thought we competed well," Martin said. "I thought we did a lot of things well, but when you give the other team as many chances as they ended up getting and take away many of our chance, it's an uphill fight for you."
After the loss, Tucker said the team knew what it must do to improve and win its next game.
"Since the Louisburg game, we have really been working on boxing out and rebounding in practice," Tucker said. "We just have to make it become a habit to do this in games. And I think we need to slow ourselves down a little bit on offense to cut down on our turnovers."
Martin added that the girls will learn from their first three games.
"The first week was a good learning experience for us," Martin said. "We have a few things that we need to work on, but we will be all right. This is a good time of the year. This is the time where you form your team and you learn what you need to work on, then work on it. This is a time where you look to have a lot of improvement."
Baldwin was scheduled to play Wellsville at home Tuesday, but the icy weather postponed the game until Dec. 21. However, the Bulldogs will host Belton, Mo., at 5:30 p.m. Friday. It will just be the junior varsity and varsity teams playing.
BHS will then travel to Central Heights to play at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The first game of the night will begin at 5 p.m.