Bulldog trio earn all-league honors
Even with tougher qualifying standards and less people per team, Baldwin High School landed three basketball players on the All-Frontier League teams.
Senior Kelsey Verhaeghe, senior Blake Wieden and junior Drew Berg were chosen for postseason honor this season. Only two teams of five players and several honorable mention players were chosen for the all-league honor. Players needed votes from two of the 13 coaches to be honorable mention.
Verhaeghe made the first team all-league squad and collected the third highest number of votes.
"I think it's a great honor for her, especially considering she was the third leading vote getter in the league," coach Bob Martin said. "It's a really good recognition of what she has done."
The four other girls joining her on the first team were Brittney Miller (Paola), Taylor Carr (Paola), Jackie Goleman (De Soto) and Amanda Dittmer (Spring Hill).
Verhaeghe led the Bulldogs in scoring as she averaged more than 16 points a game during their 16-6 season.
"It was exciting, because I worked really hard this season," Verhaeghe said. "It's nice that all of my hard work paid off. I knew this year might be the end, so I went out there and gave it everything I had."
Martin believes Verhaeghe's defense also helped land her the postseason award.
"She had one of the best individual seasons in school history," Martin said. "She was a great shooter and scorer for us, but she was also an all-around player for us. She was a great defender and did what we asked of her.
"She's always been a really good defensive player," he said. "We asked her to guard all different types of players this year. We pretty much had her guard the best perimeter player the other team had. She did a nice job of doing that."
Verhaeghe hit 73 three-pointers during the season while shooting better than 40 percent from the outside. She also shot 83 percent from the free throw line. Although her outside shooting helped Verhaeghe score points, she also learned to expand her abilities on the court.
"She really worked hard at improving all of her game," Martin said. "Her ball handling improved this year, along with her ability to drive to the basket and being a good passer. She is a much more multi-dimensional player."
On the boys' side, Wieden made second team all-league while Berg landed on the honorable mention list.
"All league selections were very tough this year because we have 13 teams and they limited to two teams of five players," coach Eric Toot said. "You also had to get two votes to be honorable mention. For those two guys to get it says a lot about the seasons they had. I would have liked to get at least one more, if not two more."
Wieden was happy to receive the award during his senior campaign. He averaged 16.6 points per game during the Bulldogs' 17-6 season.
"I was happy to get the honor," Wieden said. "Of course, you always want to be on the first team, but it's still nice to be recognized. The second team is still nice."
Toot knew Wieden had a great season as the Bulldogs' leading scorer and one of the team's leaders.
"He had an outstanding season," Toot said. "He was very consistent. I can only remember one game where he didn't score like he normally did. He was very consistent for us as a scorer all year long."
Berg was one of eight players that made honorable mention on the boys' side. He averaged 12.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest.
"It was a nice honor that the coaches thought that of me," Berg said. "I think Dustin Schiller helped us get this award, because he would make things happen on the court."
The players that made the boys' first team were Victor Ojeleye (Ottawa), Josh Sutton (Anderson County), Connor Bechard (Gardner-Edgerton), Dustin Smith (Spring Hill) and Colin Wright (Wellsville).
The second team players were Wieden, Jordan Embers (Louisburg), Andre Linzy (De Soto), Ben Adams (Gardner-Edgerton) and Corey Walker (Paola).
Besides Berg, the other honorable mention players were Chase Moore (Ottawa), Jacob Sipple (Ottawa), Kelson Boyer (Eudora), Gus Wuertz (Central Heights), Derek George (Gardner-Edgerton), Matt Leal (Spring Hill) and Scott Samsel (Wellsville).
"They both had outstanding seasons," Toot said of Berg and Wieden. "I was a little worried going in that we might not even get two. I knew Blake would make it. We were so balanced this year that I wasn't sure if we would get another one. Fortunately we did get another one."
Verhaeghe does plan on continuing her basketball career, but she's not sure where she will play next year.
"I want to," Verhaeghe said of playing basketball in college. "After the last game, I was really sad and didn't want to be done. I really want to play somewhere, so hopefully I can."