Offensive rhythm lacking for BHS girls in final loss
SPRING HILL — Offensive struggles doomed the Baldwin High School girls basketball team’s chances for a bid to the Class 4A state tournament here Friday night.
Baldwin made only 6 of 15 free throws and missed more than a dozen layups in the 4A sub-state semifinal contest. BHS made four field goals in the first half en route to its second-lowest total of the season.
In the end, Topeka-Hayden made eight of 12 foul shots in the fourth quarter to lock up the 47-37 victory. The Wildcats went on to beat Saint James on Saturday night to qualify for the 4A state tournament.
“I thought we played pretty well defensively all night,” coach Bob Martin said. “We battled really hard all night, especially in the second half. We just didn’t execute at all offensively. I think we were just wound too tight. We just didn’t make things happen on offense that we normally do.”
Baldwin’s season ended with a 16-6 record. Friday’s game was the final contest for seniors Ramie Burkhart, Allison Howard and Myranda Behrens. They combined for 28 of Baldwin’s 37 points Friday.
“They played their hearts out tonight,” Martin said. “They had a season they can be very proud of. Our seniors did a great job of leading us this year. We are going to miss them a lot.”
In third quarter, Baldwin trailed 27-15 with 2:43 remaining in the period. A basket by sophomore Monica Howard and three points from Burkhart helped Baldwin close the lead to eight points, 30-22, at the end of the quarter.
A. Howard opened the fourth quarter with a bang for the Bulldogs. She drained a three-pointer, cutting the lead to five points. On the next possession, the Bulldogs missed an open layup. Hayden scored a three-pointer less than 10 seconds after the BHS miss.
“It’s hard to win games against good teams when you shoot like that, especially from the free throw line,” Martin said. “That’s a sign that we were really tight.”
The Bulldogs responded by cutting the lead to four points with 5:34 remaining in the game, but lost sophomore Katie Kehl to an injury 30 seconds before they cut the lead to 33-29.
However, back-to-back layups by the Wildcats and missed free throws by the Bulldogs were enough to help the Wildcats build their lead back to 10 points during the waning moments of the game. Baldwin hit a pair of threes inside the final minute, but the Wildcats answered with foul shots.
“We really fought back,” Martin said. “I was really happy with how hard we fought back. I thought we got ourselves back into it. We just didn’t finish stuff. We got in a position where we had to foul and [Hayden] made their free throws.”
Baldwin fell behind 7-0 in the first quarter. The first field goal for BHS came more than five minutes into the game when Kehl scored Baldwin’s first basket. Burkhart and Behrens made the only other field goals during the first half as Baldwin trailed 23-11 at halftime.
“We had the jitters,” Martin said. “That included too many turnovers and a lot of missed shots. Really, not that many forced turnovers. It was just us making the mistakes. We just weren’t getting the ball where we needed to tonight.”
The last time the BHS girls went to the state basketball tournament in Salina was 1997. The Bulldogs finished runner-up a year after winning the 4A state title.