BHS girls hope speed will compensate for lack of size
Height might be a problem for the Baldwin High School girls basketball team this season.
However, the players and coach Bob Martin aren't going to let their lack of size deter them from having a good season.
The Bulldogs are coming off a 16-6 season from a year ago. They were defeated in the semifinal round of the Class 4A sub-state last winter. This year, the Bulldogs plan to make up for their lack of size by using their quickness.
"We are going to have to use the whole floor," Martin said. "We have to take advantage of what we've got. We don't have a lot of size, but hopefully we have a little bit of quickness. We will try and use the whole floor. I think it will be a fun year."
Expectations are once again high for the Bulldogs this winter. They lost leading scorer Kelsey Verhaeghe to graduation last year. However, they return starters Callie Craig, Heather Garcia, Colby Heckathorne and Amber Tucker.
All four returning starters are seniors on the Bulldogs' roster. They are hoping for another successful year, but know they will have to use their speed to their advantage this season.
"Obviously, we are not very tall," Tucker said. "We are going for speed and quickness this year. I think we can do it."
Heckathorne agreed with her teammate, saying their defense will have to be solid if they wish to be successful.
"This year we aren't going to be very tall, but we will be quick," Heckathorne said. "Hopefully, sound defense will be our strength."
Tucker is the only returning post player that earned significant varsity time last year. She will be joined in the forward position by senior Courtney Harris, junior Alex Zordel and junior Clare Miles.
The Bulldogs' guard positions will be similar to last year with Craig, Garcia and Heckathorne roaming the perimeter. They will be accompanied by juniors Tracie Weege and Calleigh Durr.
"We return four starters," Tucker said. "I think we are a deep team with a good bench."
The experience that the Bulldogs return has helped during the first weeks of practice. Martin said the older players are learning quickly and helping the younger players also.
"It doesn't take long for the older girls to put things in," Martin said. "I think that ought to be an advantage for us early. I've been really happy with our seniors so far."
The Bulldogs were able to see where their teams is as of now when it scrimmaged in front of family and friends Tuesday night. The line-ups were mixed, helping balance the two squads.
After watching the scrimmage, Martin was happy with the girls' performances Tuesday.
"There was a lot of good stuff out there," Martin said. "It was important for us to get out on the floor and have officials. There were a lot of really good moments, but we have a little ways to go. It was a good experience. We are as far along as we ought to be right now."
Although Martin was pleased with the Bulldogs, the players didn't quite feel as positive as their coach.
"It was good for us to get out here, because we saw a lot of things we need to work on," Tucker said. "We played good, but we still have a ways to go to get better."
Heckathorne was also happy to be playing a scrimmage, but now realizes how much more work the team has to put in to be successful this season.
"I thought it was a lot of fun to finally get to play," Heckathorne said. "It shows that we have a lot of work left to do, but it was fun. After practicing day after day, it's nice to get out and scrimmage.
"We need to be a lot more sound on offense," she said. "We need to work on getting to the basket and knowing what we are supposed to do. Our defense isn't there, but it's closer than our offense."
The Bulldogs kick off their season at the Wildcat/Bulldog Classic in Louisburg next week. They play Anderson County at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Burlington at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Louisburg at 6 p.m. Dec. 7.
Louisburg and Burlington are both nicknamed the Wildcats, while BHS and Anderson County are the Bulldogs. This is the first year for the round-robin tournament.
"It's going to be some pretty good competition," Martin said. "I like the idea that we are playing, then have practice, then a game and then practice. It gives us a chance to do some improving in between."
The BHS players are ready to start their season Monday evening.
"I am really excited," Heckathorne said. "I can't wait to play. I think the whole team is ready to play and see how it goes. I think after practicing for a few weeks, you are ready to play a few games."
Tucker added that conditioning might be a factor in the early games, but they are ready to play.
"I don't think we are quite in game shape," Tucker said. "We are not out of shape, but we were a little tired at the end. We will get there. We are just really excited and ready to go."
The Bulldogs' first home contest is at 6 p.m. Dec. 11 against Wellsville. They will also host Belton, Mo., at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 14.