Bulldogs shoot poorly in losses to Louisburg
BURLINGTON — Shooting woes and too many turnovers doomed the Baldwin High School varsity basketball teams here Tuesday in the opening game of the third annual Bulldog/Wildcat Classic.
Both BHS teams struggled shooting field goals and free throws as they each fell to 1-1 on the season. The BHS girls lost 59-50 to Louisburg, while the boys were defeated 57-40.
“When you don’t make shots, it makes everything else look really bad,” BHS boys’ coach Eric Toot said. “When you do make shots, it covers up a lot of your mistakes.”
Neither team made too many shots Tuesday. The boys’ squad sank 14 of XX field goals during its loss to Louisburg. The Bulldogs also only made 11 of 20 free throws.
The first game of the night wasn’t much better. The girls’ team made eight of 23 shots in the first half and eight of 22 shots in the second half for a game total of 36 percent.
“We missed a lot of shots tonight,” BHS girls’ coach Bob Martin said. “We also turned the ball over a lot tonight. They took us out of our offense and we ended up making some really poor decisions.”
For the boys, it was struggles with shots in the paint that hurt them as a team.
“When you don’t make shots, it’s never going to look smooth,” Toot said. “We were five of 16 in the first half from in the lane. That’s not 15 or 18-footers. That was in the lane. When you don’t put the ball in the hole, it puts a lot of pressure on your defense. Our offense really hurt our defense tonight.”
In the boys’ game, Baldwin took an early 6-2 lead before the Wildcats caught fire from the outside. During the next five minutes, the Wildcats sank four three-pointers as they built a 20-8 lead.
Louisburg made two more in the third quarter as it went on to sink seven for the contest. Senior Zach Wright made Baldwin’s only three-pointer.
“We’re trying to play some zone this year, but I’m not really a zone coach and that’s the reason why,” Toot said. “If a couple guys get hot, they can really hurt you. They’re going to get three-point looks against a zone. I thought Central Heights did the other night, but didn’t make them.
“Tonight, they made them. With our size, I’m trying to see if we can play that,” he said. “I don’t know if we can against some of the teams we play, because of the shooters they have. We’ll just have to see if it’s something we can do or not, but right now I’m not sure we can.”
One bright spot for the Bulldogs was senior Brandon Kraus, according to Toot. Although he only scored a pair of points, his effort and lack of mistakes was noticed by his coach.
“I thought Brandon Kraus was great tonight,” Toot said. “He wasn’t in the rotation, but we went to him early and he did some really good things. He was solid for us tonight and that’s what you expect from a senior and just a good kid that’s stuck it out for four years. He took advantage of his opportunity tonight and believe me, I noticed it.”
Junior Justin Vander Tuig led the team with 10 points in the loss.
Meanwhile, in the girls’ game, it wasn’t a particular player that went noticed by Martin; it was how his team’s shots weren’t falling all night. The Bulldogs also dug themselves a hole early in the game, as they fell behind 19-7 in the first quarter.
Baldwin closed the lead to 11 points at halftime and had chances to cut the lead even more early in the third quarter. Louisburg didn’t score for the first 5:16 of the quarter, but Baldwin only managed five points during that stretch.
“We had a lot of opportunities to really make a run on them during the third quarter,” Martin said. “We got a lot of open shots, but just couldn't knock them down tonight. We had chances to catch up, but couldn't make some easy shots. It’s a learning experience for us.”
The Bulldogs committed 31 turnovers for the game, including 20 in the first half. They also made only 15 of 29 foul shots. Junior Myranda Behrens led the team with 13 points, while fellow junior Ramie Burkhart chipped in 10.
Both BHS teams will be back in action tonight and Friday in Burlington. The Bulldogs play Anderson County tonight and Burlington Friday. The girls’ games begin at 6 p.m. with the boys to follow at 7:30 p.m. both nights.