Verhaeghe racks up 53 points in pair of BHS victories
After a double overtime loss to Ottawa, the Baldwin High School girls' basketball team has responded with two marginal victories.
BHS defeated De Soto 57-50 and Kansas City Turner 53-48, but lost a heartbreaker to the Cyclones 71-63 on Feb. 14.
On Tuesday, Baldwin played its final regular season home game against De Soto. The win advanced the Bulldogs record to 14-5, while dropping De Soto's to 8-10.
"This was a big night for us," coach Bob Martin said. "It was our last home game here and senior night. It was a really good win for us."
The Wildcats hit a three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter to bring Baldwin's lead to 51-48. Then the Bulldogs finished the final 3:22 with a 6-2 run.
It marked the final regular season home game for seniors Katie Frank, Emily Krysztof, Becca Stroman, Amanda Vander Tuig and Kelsey Verhaeghe.
"It was a good win for all of us seniors," Verhaeghe said. "They were a good team, so it was a really good win for us."
After the three-pointer by De Soto, BHS sophomore Tracie Weege came down and answered with a long-range bomb, just 10 seconds after the Wildcats' shot.
Weege also scored two free throws late in the game to help seal the victory. Verhaeghe knocked in the final free throw with 35 seconds left.
"Of course, Kelsey had a good night offensively, but I thought she did a super job defensively on their good guard, especially in the fourth quarter," Martin said. "I thought Ashley Tucker came in and did a good job on the inside for us."
Baldwin took a one-point lead into halftime. Both teams exchanged baskets early in the third quarter until BHS spurted ahead with a 6-0 run in 1:05. The Wildcats closed the lead to three points, until Verhaeghe drained a three-pointer with 1 second left in the period.
The first half featured three tied scores and six lead changes. Junior Ashley Tucker gave Baldwin the halftime lead with a layup. Junior Heather Garcia tallied an assist on the play.
"I thought we played pretty well overall," Martin said. "We had a few turnovers in the first quarter and got ourselves down a little bit. I thought we were steady overall, though."
Tucker added nine points in the victory, but it was Verhaeghe who stole the offensive show once again. She scored 23 points, which paled in comparison to her 30 points she racked up Friday night.
Verhaeghe carried Baldwin to its 53-48 victory over Turner by dropping in those 30 points.
"I had no idea I had that many until after the game when coach told me," Verhaeghe said. "I was like 'wow.' I didn't know I scored that many."
Martin said Verhaeghe has improved her all-around skills late in the season.
"Kelsey had a great night," Martin said. "She has always been a good perimeter shooter, but during the last two weeks she has really started taking it to the basket and getting herself on the free throw line."
The Bulldogs struggled in the game offensively and only led 24-20 at halftime. Turner took the lead in the third quarter and took a 37-34 lead into the final period.
Baldwin's offense came alive late in the game to help the Bulldogs escape with a road win.
"Friday's game was one that we survived," Martin said. "We know we didn't play very well. We really only played the last four minutes of the game well, but it was good enough to win. Sometimes you just have to win."
Callie Craig scored nine points in the victory. That win came only two days after the devastating 71-63 double overtime loss to Ottawa.
"We had a lot of chances to win that game," Martin said. "It was a good basketball game between two teams. I can't fault our team's effort or how we played."
Baldwin gained control of the game early thanks to three-pointers from junior Colby Heckathorne and Weege.
After the first quarter, Ottawa caught up and made the game a dogfight for both teams. The squads combined for seven tie-ups and eight lead changes. The largest margin of difference was seven points.
Garcia knocked down two free throws with 13.6 seconds left in regulation to tie the game. Ottawa missed its shot and the game went into the first overtime.
The Cyclones controlled the extra period, but Verhaeghe hit a three-pointer with 4 seconds left to send the contest into another overtime. Verhaeghe's shot was questioned about being a three-pointer, but was scored as one by the officials.
"We were pretty fortunate to get that call," Martin said. "It was still a pretty clutch shot that she came up with."
Ottawa held Baldwin to three points in the final four minutes as it rolled to victory.
Baldwin will now play its final regular season game at 6:30 tonight at Prairie View. Then the Bulldogs will host a first-round sub-state game at 7 p.m. Tuesday against St. James Academy.
"We know we have a home game and we are looking forward to it," Martin said.