Bulldogs ready for home tournament
Bob Martin is happy to welcome a trio of home games to open the Baldwin High School girls’ basketball season.
In past years, Martin’s Bulldogs have been lucky to get one or two home contests in before the Christmas break. Unlike the BHS boys’ squad, the girls’ team doesn’t host a home tournament in January, as it heads to Wellsville for the Top Gun every year.
Not this year. The Bulldogs will play three home games next week.
“It’s pretty exciting that we open up with three games at home,” Martin said. “We’re playing three really good teams. The girls’ side of it is really strong. We’re going to find out pretty fast where we are.”
Baldwin will be hosting the Bulldog-Wildcat Classic next week. The round robin tournament began a year ago. The other three teams are Anderson County, Burlington and Louisburg.
The games will begin Tuesday and will continue Dec. 12-13. The action begins at 4 p.m. each night. BHS will play at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“We’re really excited to have the tournament at home,” senior Calleigh Durr said. “We will be able to take advantage of the home-court advantage early on before we travel more after the Christmas break.”
Before the Bulldogs begin their season Tuesday, they will host a scrimmage tonight. The girls will start at 6:30 p.m. or shortly after the Baldwin Junior High School games are complete.
“I think the scrimmage will be really fun, because we will be able to see where we are at for more than a few minutes at a time,” Durr said. “We will be able to get up and down the floor and see what we can do.”
Martin is also anxious to see how his team plays in the scrimmage.
“It will give them a chance to get out there with officials and play as a team,” Martin said. “It will also be nice to play for an extended period of time, too.
“A lot of teams start this week, so it gives us three extra days of practice,” he said. “That’s good from my point of view, but they are getting pretty anxious to play.”
He is especially excited for the scrimmage because of how well the Bulldogs have practiced this week. He hopes it carries over to the court tonight.
“Practices this week have been going good,” Martin said. “These have been our best practices. We’re coming around all right. They are learning a lot right now so their minds might be overloaded right now.”
The Bulldogs return a solid core group from last year’s squad which finished the season 10-11. Some of the primary returners include seniors Tracie Weege, Clare Miles, Alex Zordel and Durr. Other key players, especially in height, are sophomore Ramie Burkhart and junior Katie Brecheisen.
Several of last year’s seniors were guards and thus made the Bulldogs one of the shortest in Class 4A. This year might be different as some of the younger players moving up the ranks will be adding height this year.
“We’re bigger than we’ve been in a while, but we are by no means big,” Martin said. “We’re still going to be one of the smaller teams in the league, but we’ve got a bit more size this year. Hopefully, we can hold our own on the boards a little better this year.”
Martin also said the Bulldogs should be more balanced offensively this year after relying on 3-point shots a year ago.
“We have a pretty good combination this year,” he said. “We’re not going to have as wide of a range of 3-point shooters, but we’re still going to have some shooters. We’ll be able to score inside and outside. I think we’ll be a bit more balanced.”
Baldwin began practicing on Nov. 17. Since then, the Bulldogs have been primarily working on fundamentals and getting conditioned for the season. Although the first week or two were a bit shaky, Durr believes the Bulldogs will be ready to play Tuesday night.
“We have the potential to be a really good team,” she said. “If we execute things really well and play defense and offense like we are capable of, we have the chance to be a good team.”