Thunder’s run dooms BHS girls’ sub-state
LENEXA — In the beginning, it was all Bulldogs. In the end, the Bulldogs were barking. However, there was too much Thunder in the middle here Tuesday night.
The No. 5 seeded Baldwin High School girls’ basketball team came out in a blaze. That fire smoldered during the middle eight minutes of the Class 4A sub-state contest. In the end, it was No. 4 seeded Saint James moving on with a 49-46 victory.
“We played really well tonight,” senior Tracie Weege said. “Our defense and offense were both good early in the game. We had a little trouble for a few minutes, but we got our composure back and played hard to the end.”
Tuesday’s loss ended the Bulldogs’ season. They finished the year with a 9-12 record. Before losing their final two games — at Saint James and at Ottawa last Thursday — the Bulldogs were riding a two-game winning streak. Then it all ended in a tough contest that was decided in the final seconds.
“They gave great effort tonight,” coach Bob Martin said. “I thought they were going to give a good effort tonight. We came out awfully strong and did a lot of things well in the first half. Then we had a stretch in the third quarter where we turned it over probably six straight times. I think that was probably the ball game right there. I’m pleased with the effort they gave and I feel bad for them.”
Baldwin had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds. Saint James hit a pair of free throws with 19 seconds remaining to extend its lead to 49-46. The Bulldogs lost their point guard and leading scorer — Weege — on the foul.
The Bulldogs passed the ball several times during the final 19 seconds. They were unable to attempt a game-tying three-pointer as they turned the ball over with :02 left in the contest.
“When you lose Tracie, that’s a tough loss,” Martin said. “I still thought we had a chance to tie it up at the end.”
It was an eight-minute stretch in the middle of the contest that proved costly for BHS. Leading 24-12 midway through the second quarter, Baldwin looked in control of the game. Saint James scored the final four points of the half, cutting the lead to only eight points.
Bad news was that was the beginning of an 18-2 run by the Thunder. Baldwin turned the ball over seven times before scoring three points midway through the third quarter to end the drought.
“We just had a bad stretch where we turned it over a bit and allowed them to get back in the game,” Martin said. “We tried to force a few things and didn’t execute in the third quarter.”
Weege said the team just lost focus and turned the ball over too much during that stretch.
“They turned up their pressure and they were making all of their shots,” Weege said. “Everything they threw up, went in. We messed up a couple of times which hurt our confidence a bit.”
The Bulldogs attacked the Thunder with a full-court press during the final minutes. They forced several Thunder turnovers that led to layups. Sophomore Ramie Burkhart scored eight of Baldwin’s final 12 point en route to her 12 points. Weege led the Bulldogs with 13 points and Zordel added 10.
“I thought our seniors really laid it on the line for us,” Martin said. “I thought they gave everything they had. I am proud of the effort they gave all year. I couldn't be happier for those girls.”