Rewriting her own record
WELLSVILLE -- Kelsey Verhaeghe is on pace to leave her mark on the Top Gun Tournament.
She already owned one three-point tournament record, but the Baldwin High School senior took possession of another here Tuesday night.
Verhaeghe sank six three-pointers on her way to 20 points in the Bulldogs' (6-3) 57-50 opening game victory over Saint Marys.
"They played a zone, so I was open outside more," Verhaeghe said. "My teammates passed me the ball and I was able to make them tonight."
Her six baskets from behind the arc broke the previous record of five in a game, which she shared with Marrissa Smith of St. Marys.
Verhaeghe is also halfway to her own Top Gun record of 12 three-pointers for the tournament. She set that mark last year. She said she won't be thinking about breaking her record in the next two games, but she would enjoy the record if it were to happen.
"That would be really nice," Verhaeghe said. "That's not what I am going to be concentrating on, but if it happens, it happens."
Baldwin sank 11 threes as a team Tuesday, which was one off the team record for a single game. Also contributing long-range shots were senior Amanda Vander Tuig, senior Katie Frank and junior Callie Craig.
"I think we executed our plays better and we looked for an open teammate better tonight," Frank said. "We've been working on shooting a lot during practice. We are getting better at making our shots."
Coach Bob Martin was pleased with the offensive production Tuesday, especially from the outside.
"Offensively, we shot the ball pretty well," Martin said. "We made 11 threes and knocked down some big shots. We had a chance to pull away from them, but I thought we played really well down the stretch."
After St. Marys pulled within four points of Baldwin, Martin called a timeout with 5:27 left in the game. Baldwin came out of the break and controlled the final minutes.
Senior Becca Stroman scored two straight baskets. Then, Craig and Verhaeghe each hit a three-pointer, giving BHS a 56-42 lead with 3:08 remaining.
"Those shots gave us a little bit of breathing room down the stretch," Martin said.
The Bulldogs struggled to make free throws during the waning minutes, but their defense and rebounding kept the Bears from scoring too many baskets.
"We fought hard tonight," Verhaeghe said. "We let them in it for a little while, but we bounced back and had a little spurt that helped us."
Other leading scorers for Baldwin were Vander Tuig (nine points), Frank (six), Stroman (six) and Craig (six).
"Amanda and Katie both gave us a really big lift tonight," Martin said. "They both hit some shots for us."
Martin was proud of his team for playing tough against a good opponent.
"I was really pleased to win," Martin said. "I knew we had a tough opponent in the first round. St. Marys is a really sound basketball team. I knew it would be a test for us for a first-round game. I was really happy that we won."
Last Thursday, the Bulldogs traveled to Gardner for a Frontier League contest. They were unable to overcome early offensive troubles in their 54-41 loss.
"We didn't shoot very well," Martin said. "You have to give their guards some credit though. We shot about 28 percent and that's not going to win you a lot of games against good teams."
Baldwin fell behind 12-0 before Verhaeghe finally scored its first points at the end of the first quarter. BHS closed the gap to five points in the third quarter, but were never able to get any closer.
"We dug ourselves in a really big hole early," Martin said. "We struggled offensively and got down too much too early. The girls played hard and fought back to get back into the game. We just ran out of gas in the fourth quarter and could never get over the hump."
That was the second league loss for Baldwin as it lost to Paola on Jan.2 at home.
Tuesday's victory sets the Bulldogs up for a semifinal game against Piper.
"Our goal is to always win the first one, but we have to take it one game at a time," Verhaeghe said. "It feels good to win the first one, though."
Baldwin will play the Pirates at 7:45 p.m. tonight in the red gym at Wellsville.
"We're looking forward to it," Martin said. "It's one more step to get into the championship, so we are just happy to play on."
If Baldwin wins tonight, it will play at 8 p.m. Saturday, but a loss will have BHS playing at 6 p.m.