Quick start propels BHS girls’ victory
Early three-pointers helped the Baldwin High School girls jump out to a lead in which it never surrendered here Tuesday night.
BHS senior Kelsey Verhaeghe sank a trio of long-range shots in the first quarter en route to her game-leading 24 points.
"That helped set momentum early in the game," Verhaeghe said. "It also helped give us a nice lead."
Junior Callie Craig added the other early three-pointer as the Bulldogs (16-5) defeated St. James Academy 52-43 in the first round of the Class 4A sub-state tournament.
"It was a good win," Craig said. "It was a little sloppy, but we pulled it off."
With the victory, Baldwin advances to play Eudora at 6 p.m. Friday in the tournament semifinals in Tonganoxie.
"We are going to try and get through it," coach Bob Martin said. "We want to be playing Saturday night."
The sub-state final is at 6 p.m. Saturday in Tonganoxie.
Despite the three-pointers early in the game, BHS struggled offensively for the first few minutes. The Bulldogs led 6-5 before finishing the quarter on a 10-1 run in the final 3:35.
"We had trouble getting going in the first couple of minutes, but then we hit something about the last four minutes of the fourth quarter," Martin said. "We really opened it up there and that got us off to a good start."
The Bulldogs kept expanding their lead during the second quarter. Baldwin led 28-13 at halftime, but St. James mounted a third-quarter comeback that closed the BHS lead to 30-26.
"We played really sloppy in the third quarter and had a lot of turnovers," Craig said. "We just had a let down during the second half."
Martin said the girls struggled to maintain possession of the ball during the third quarter.
"We came out a little flat-footed and we turned the ball over about five times in the first three minutes," Martin said. "We didn't get any shots off at all then. We just hit a spell and they made a little run at us."
Baldwin survived the spurt and finished the quarter with an 8-0 run of its own. BHS knocked down four of six foul shots during the 3:42 stretch.
The Bulldogs opened the game up early in the fourth quarter. Verhaeghe drained back-to-back three-pointers to give them a 49-30 lead with 5:16 remaining in the game.
"We knew it would be a tough game and we couldn't just go out there expecting to win," Verhaeghe said. "They came back and kind of scared us, but we pulled it off. We wanted to keep playing and we really didn't want to lose at our house."
Baldwin only managed one point in the final 3:29, but the game was well in hand for the Bulldogs.
"You are happy with whatever win you can get right now," Martin said. "We are happy to keep on going."
Verhaeghe was the only Bulldog to score in double figures. Craig was the next highest scorer with seven points. Baldwin made 14 of 21 free throws during the game.
Last Thursday, the Bulldogs traveled to Prairie View to finish the regular season. Baldwin left with a 63-32 win.
"It was a good win and we got to play a lot of people," Martin said. "I thought we were fairly sharp that night. It was a good way to finish the regular season."
Baldwin scored 23 points in the fourth quarter to secure the win. Verhaeghe again led BHS in scoring with 17 points. Junior Heather Garcia added 14 and sophomore Tracie Weege scored 11.
Baldwin will next play Eudora in the sub-state semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday in Tonganoxie. The winner will play the victor between Tonganoxie and Basehor at 6 p.m. Saturday.