21 and counting as BHS girls keep Top Gun streak alive
WELLSVILLE — For the 21st consecutive year, the Baldwin High School girls basketball team has won its opening round game of the Top Gun Tournament.
Tuesday’s victory came quite easily over the tournament host Eagles. The Bulldogs sank 10 of 16 three-pointers as they won 67-33.
“We’ve never lost the first round of this tournament,” senior Allison Howard said. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t year.”
The streak of winning first-round games began with the tournament’s first year of 1991. Coach Bob Martin let the cat out of the bag two years ago and since then, each Bulldog squad has tried to continue the streak.
Baldwin has been one of the top-four seeds for most of the 21 years, but an upset hasn’t occurred yet. Although the first-round wins are nice, the Bulldogs aim higher each year.
“I don’t know what to say,” Martin said. “We’ve had good draws in the first round a lot. The big one is Thursday. Getting into the winners bracket is nice, but we want to be in the finals.”
On Tuesday, it was all business and it was all about defeating the hometown Eagles. It took the entire first quarter for the Bulldogs to warm up, but once they did, it was game, set and match.
Wellsville hit a three-pointer late in the first quarter to take an 11-10 lead over Baldwin. Howard made a layup to give BHS a 13-11 advantage after senior Myranda Behrens hit one of two free throws. Those points sparked a 31-2 run that didn’t end until 2:25 into the third quarter.
“At the start of the game, we were just settling for outside shots,” Martin said. “We were getting outside shots, but we weren’t looking to attack the basket at all. Once we started getting the ball to the basket, we got our offense going and then we started shooting well from the outside. That’s how we shoot the best. We started shooting well tonight.”
Baldwin held the Eagles scoreless for the first 4:38 of the second quarter and again for another 5:47. During that first run, Baldwin scored 15 unanswered points.
“We didn’t come out with the most intensity, but once we figured out we had to, we brought it,” Howard said. “It worked tonight.”
Sophomore Kailyn Smith, Howard and Behrens each sank a three-pointer during the 15-0 run. They combined to make 4-of-5 foul shots, too.
After Wellsville scored, Howard answered with another trey. Freshman Katie Jones made a pair of free throws, before Behrens and Howard each made threes to give BHS a 39-13 halftime advantage.
“We played with a little bit more energy the whole second quarter,” Martin said. “Defensively, we turned it up, and I think that got everything else going.”
Baldwin continued to pour on the offense in the third quarter as it outscored the Eagles 23-5. Behrens made a three-pointer as Jones sank back-to-back treys late in the quarter.
Martin pulled the starters at the end of the third quarter. Sophomores Kaitlyn Barnes, Kaitlin Jorgensen and Jessie Katzer each scored two points for the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter.
“We came out a little flat, but we turned it on tonight,” Martin said. “We got to play a lot of people, so it was a good win.”
Baldwin will play Bonner Springs in the semifinal at 5:15 p.m. tonight in Wellsville.
“Hopefully this will give us some momentum, but we’re going to have to play really well Thursday,” Martin said. “Bonner Springs is a good team.”