Baldwin girls win thriller in De Soto
De Soto — Sophomore Katie Jones made two free throws with 1.4 seconds left in the game, giving the Bulldogs a 30-29 victory Monday at De Soto.
With the victory, Baldwin moved on to the second round of the sub-state tournament to play Ottawa at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Baldwin.
The De Soto bench attempted to ice Jones after she hit the first of free throw, knotting the school at 28 all. The ruse didn’t work as Jones’ second attempt hit nothing but twine.
“I like having her there,” coach Bob Martin said. “I trust her up there.”
The game ended on an unsuccessful desperation heave by the home Wildcats.
The low-scoring contest was a close as the final score with five lead changes in the second half. Baldwin led by three points at half time, aided by two second-quarter 3-pointers by sophomore guard Hailey Cope.
Baldwin built its biggest lead in the early minutes of the second half and went up 19-14 when junior center Katie Kehl scored off an offensive rebound with 4:50 to play in the third period.
De Soto would then score the next seven points. Kehl ended the run when she scored on the post, pulling Baldwin even at 21-21. But Kehl would have to leave the game when she picked up her fourth foul on the next possession with 50 seconds to play in the third period.
Jones quickly erased a two-point Bulldog deficit at the start of the fourth-quarter when she drove to the basket for a score that tied the game at 23-23. The two teams then traded points during the next five minutes with Kailyn Smith and Kehl getting needed baskets for the Bulldogs.
De Soto finally gained the upper hand when it got possession of the ball with a one-point lead with two minutes to pay. The Wildcats were content to run clock as they looked for an easy shot.
The strategy backfired when Baldwin fouled with 43 seconds left in the game and Kehl rebounded a missed shot on the front end of a one-and-one.
It was then the Wildcats chance to look for a game-winning shot. After Martin called a timeout with 16.7 seconds to play, the Wildcats forced Baldwin to reset its offense when the home team used it final foul before the bonus with 11 seconds left in the game. After inbounding the ball, the Bulldogs found Jones with space on the right side of the lane. She drove, was fouled and went to the line for the winning free throws.
It was the second game between the two teams in five days. De Soto defeated the Bulldogs, 48-37, Thursday in the final regular season game for both teams.
Martin said he didn’t have time to change anything between games. He credited the team’s win on it familiarity with De Soto, a strong defensive effort and the ability to better handle the Wildcats three-quarters zone press.
“Defensively, we played really well,” he said. “We did seem to handle the press better. We didn’t get great shots off it, but we didn’t turn it over.”
Smith got her first action since suffering a concussion Feb. 10 against Louisburg.
“She didn’t get cleared to play until this morning,” Martin said. “I had to keep her minutes down a little bit. It was nice to have her in there at crunch time.”