Broncos end Bulldogs’ season … again
Spring Hill It's been a few years, but once again the Baldwin High School girls' basketball team's season came to an end at the hands of Spring Hill.
The last time the Broncos beat the Bulldogs in sub-state action was 2004, which was the second straight year for Baldwin to be eliminated by Spring Hill. This year's Broncos hit a late three-pointer to beat the Bulldogs (10-11) 40-39 here Monday night.
"It was really heart breaking to be that close and lose," senior Colby Heckathorne said. "It makes it that much harder knowing we had a chance to win, especially since we missed so many free throws."
Coach Bob Martin was proud of his team after the game, despite losing a tough game to end the season.
"I thought we played awfully well tonight," Martin said. "We were in great position to win the game. If we would have shot decently in the first half, we would have had a comfortable lead."
Baldwin held a 38-35 lead with 2:43 remaining in the contest. The Bulldogs ran off more than one minute of time during the next possession before being fouled. Senior Callie Craig went to the line, where she shot 79 percent for the season, but both foul shots hit the back of the rim.
Spring Hill scored a basket to close the lead to one, before fouling Heckathorne. Despite shooting 68 percent on the season, she sank one of two free throws.
"We had our best free throw shooters on the line," Martin said. "I couldn't ask for anything more than that. If we get one rebound at the defensive end, the game is over. I am just incredibly proud of the girls tonight."
The Broncos missed one shot on their next possession, but grabbed the offensive rebound. Then, with 13 seconds remaining, the Broncos' Ashley Miller hit a three-pointer from the corner to take a 40-39 lead.
Baldwin had one last possession, where Craig attempted a guarded jump shot. Her shot was long off the rim, ending the game and the Bulldogs' season.
"I would definitely say we didn't lose because we didn't play well or we weren't trying, because everybody gave their all and left it on the court," Heckathorne said. "That's all you can ask."
After the game, Martin said if he had to do it all over again, he would. He was confident in his players' abilities down the stretch.
"I would have taken that three-point lead with two minutes to go anytime with the girls we had out there," Martin said. "We had two of the best free throw shooters in our history on the line. But stuff like that just happens. They end up hitting a shot and we still had a chance to win."
He added he felt awful for his players, especially for the five seniors.
"They are definitely heart-broken right now," Martin said. "There is no question about it. They should feel proud of the game they played here and the season that they had. I couldn't ask any more of them."
Heckathorne led Baldwin with 13 points in her finale. Senior Ashley Tucker chipped in 12 points.
"Colby Heckathorne really stepped up for us," Martin said. "She had a great second half. Ashley Tucker had a great game. We had some girls that came off the bench that just played their hearts out. Calleigh Durr played well and Ramie Burkhart made some huge shots for us off the bench.
"Alex Zordel and Clare Miles did a great job on Jennifer House," Martin said. "They worked their butts off on her. They limited her touches and played great defense on her."
Baldwin took an early lead in the game, 9-2. The Broncos battled back and tied the game 12-12 shortly before halftime. The third quarter was neck-and-neck, but Spring Hill took a 29-28 lead into the final period.
The Bulldogs opened the fourth quarter with a 7-4 run to take a lead. They held that lead until the final 13 seconds. Heckathorne said the loss was extra tough knowing the team played as tough as it could, but still fell short by one point.
"After losing senior night, which was really sad, I had a little extra motivation," Heckathorne said. "I just love basketball and I didn't want our season to be over. You just have to give it your all. If you leave it all on the court, then if you lose, you can't look back and regret it."