BHS girls’ basketball squad has high expectations
Bob Martin and his players are aiming for a destination Baldwin High School girls’ basketball teams haven’t seen since 1997 — Salina.
It’s been a goal of the program for more than a decade, and the Bulldogs have come close several times. A year ago, they came within a made basket or two in the sub-state championship game, although the final score, 46-37, didn’t reflect the closeness of the contest.
The Bulldogs shot a dismal 2-of-21 from three-point range in the contest, despite shooting well above that average all season. This year’s squad knows a trip to the state tournament in Salina is attainable.
“We got pretty close to state last year, so we are going to do our best to get to state this year,” senior Myranda Behrens said. “We think we can do it with the girls that we have this year.”
It’s not just the players who share that sentiment. Martin also believes his team can compete at the top of Class 4A this season.
“I think our expectations are pretty high,” he said. “We think we can compete for the league championship. We knocked on the door of a lot of things last year. We were second at the Wellsville Tournament and second at sub-state. We are hoping to take the next step this year.”
A year ago, Baldwin finished 15-8 and lost five seniors, two of which started most games. The three returning starters are senior Ramie Burkhart, senior Allison Howard and sophomore Kailyn Smith. Behrens is the only other upperclassmen on the Bulldogs’ roster.
“I like our seniors, and I expect them all to contribute,” Martin said. “Ramie and Allison were on the all-league team last year, so we expect good things form them. Myranda has been a contributor and now it’s her chance to shine as a senior. They are going to have a good year.”
Smith returns as the Bulldogs’ point guard after starting as a freshman. During her inaugural campaign, she led the Bulldogs up and down the court, but left much of the scoring to her teammates. That might change this year, her coach said.
“I think Kailyn will be even better this year,” Martin said. “I think she will be a bit more of a scorer this year, and she will be a lot more confident in running the team. I expect her to be an outstanding player for us.”
Smith joins an array of sophomores who will see varsity minutes this winter. Monica Howard and Katie Kehl both played significant minutes as freshman last year, but will see their minutes increase dramatically this year.
Martin said. The versatile Howard can play a lot of positions, while Kehl is a really strong inside presence. The coach thinks both are going to show tremendous improvement.
Also expecting to see time on the varsity are sophomores Elena Watson, Kaitlin Jorgensen, Callie Enick, Kelsey Dighans and Katelyn Barnes. Freshman Katie Jones might also play varsity.
“We’re actually a young team, but we have a lot of experience,” Martin said. “Our three seniors have all played a lot, and they are the nucleus of the team. We’ve also got a number of sophomores who will play for us, and three of them played significant minutes on varsity last year. That experience should carry over into this season.”
The Bulldogs are low on number of players this season with only 22 players out for basketball this winter.
“We’re a bit low this year, but I’m really happy with the girls we got out this year,” Martin said. “Playing time won’t be a problem at all, and I’m happy with the quality of girls we have out this year.”
Despite the small numbers, the Bulldogs believe they have the talent to have a rewarding season.
“Teamwork is one of our biggest things,” Behrens said. “We are all getting along, so that’s going to help us. We are also having fun, too.”
Baldwin will begin its season Friday at Santa Fe Trail. The junior varsity team will start at 4:30 p.m. with the varsity expected to start about 6 p.m. BHS will also play Burlington and Iola at Anderson County on Monday and Tuesday.
“I think we are all ready,” Behrens said. “We are ready to go. We’ve been practicing a couple weeks, so we are ready to get a game in now.”