BHS girls sail past Vikings
It was just what the doctor ordered - a victory.
After three consecutive losses, the Baldwin High School girls' basketball team left here with a much-needed win Tuesday.
The Bulldogs (2-3) cruised during the second half as they defeated Central Heights 52-34 to earn their first road victory of the season.
"We started off a little slow, but we pulled it together," senior Heather Garcia said. "The important part is we won. It's nice to get a win under our belt."
Baldwin opened the season with a win over Anderson County. Then it fell to Burlington, Louisburg and Belton, Mo.
BHS coach Bob Martin and Garcia are both hoping Tuesday's victory will give the team some confidence heading into Friday's contest against Wellsville and the rest of the season.
"It's good for us and we feel a whole lot better getting back in the win column tonight," Martin said. "This is the time in December where we are really trying to find ourselves and find out where we can be as a team. It's really nice to come away with a win right now and give us some confidence."
Garcia agreed, saying the team faced some challenging opponents during the first week of action at the Wildcat/Bulldog Classic in Louisburg.
"We are hoping to get some momentum into the rest of the season," Garcia said. "We've played some really tough teams, but we have improved. We still have a ways to go until we get to our best."
Although the team was excited about logging its second victory of the season, Martin was also pleased about his players' performances.
During the first four games he had been disappointed with turnovers and rebounding. That wasn't the case here Tuesday.
"I thought we played pretty well tonight," Martin said. "It was a good win for us."
Baldwin opened the contest up midway through the second quarter as it went on a 25-7 run. The spurt lasted longer than one quarter. It started after the Vikings scored a basket with 4:28 left in the second quarter to make the score 14-13.
The Bulldogs closed the half with an 11-2 run, led by senior Callie Craig. She sank a three-pointer and another basket right before halftime. Fellow senior Ashley Tucker scored four points during the final minutes of the quarter.
Baldwin continued to pour it on in the second half. Junior Tracie Weege and Craig each sank three-pointers. Senior Colby Heckathorne and Garcia each helped BHS increase its lead with points. At the end of the third quarter, BHS led 41-22.
"We starting clicking a lot more toward the end of the game," Garcia said. "We started making good passes and making sure we complete each possession we had."
Baldwin maintained its lead during the final period and led by 25 points when the starters took the bench in the final minutes.
"I thought we played really well tonight," Martin said. "Offensively, we executed well. In the first half I thought we got a lot of good shots, but we weren't shooting really well. The second half was really solid, because we hit some shots and executed really well."
The Bulldogs struggled offensively to begin the game. Tucker missed three shots close to the basket as Craig and Weege combined to miss a trio of three-pointers. After the first three minutes, BHS began to rack up points and managed to never trail in the contest.
Weege led BHS in scoring with 15 points. Craig chipped in 11, while Heckathorne added nine points and Tucker scored seven.
"You can't really pick one girl who is going to be our leading scorer," Martin said. "We have also been shooting the ball really well from the three-point range in December."
While the Bulldogs' offense was successful Tuesday night, both Martin and Garcia said their defense was good for another game.
"I think our defense was solid," Martin said. "We are still struggling a bit on the defensive boards, but other than that I thought we did a lot of good things defensively tonight."
"Our defense is key to our success," Garcia said. "If we are ever off on our shooting, we can always rely on our defense to back us up."
Baldwin will next host its second home game of the season on Friday night. Last Friday, the Bulldogs hosted Belton (Mo.), but lost 47-45. They had two shot attempts in the final seconds that nearly fell to win the game.
BHS will play Wellsville at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Baldwin Junior High School gym. The first games begin at 5 p.m.
"We are excited to be back home Friday," Garcia said. "We are hoping to win before Christmas so we will be at .500."