Baldwin girls take flight in Top Gun Tournament
Despite leading the entire game Tuesday, the Baldwin High School girls basketball didn’t put away its first-round contest of the Wellsville Top Gun Tournament against St. Marys Bears until the waning minutes.
The Bulldogs had leads of from three to seven points throughout the game, but St. Marys managed to come back whenever Baldwin seemed ready to build a comfortable advantage.
“I just told the girls, I think we fought ourselves as much as we fought them,” Baldwin coach Bob Martin said of his team’s 49-40 win. “We finally did some things to win the game. That’s want is important — survive and go on.”
Baldwin appeared to put the game away with 2:18 to play in the third quarter when junior Katie Kehl rebounded blocked shot in the lane and scored, giving the Bulldogs its largest lead of the game at 32-25. The Bears’ top scorer, sophomore Clare Thomas, was injured on the play and didn’t return to the game after being carried from the floor.
St. Marys senior center Mary-Rose Eakes scored inside on the next possession, swiping the momentum from the Bulldogs, and the two teams were scoreless the remainder of the period.
After a St. Marys made free throw early in the fourth quarter, Kehl once again worked the offensive boards for a second-chance basket with 6:50 to play in the final quarter. Two possessions later, Bulldog junior Kailyn Smith seemed to finally put the game out of reach with a 3-pointer that gave Baldwin a 39-31 lead.
Once again, St Marys answered the challenge, scoring five-straight points and cutting the lead to 39-36 with 3:10 to play.
Baldwin’s response was another three-pointer, this time from junior Kaitlin Jorgensen from the top of the key.
St. Marys could not get within four points the rest of the game, and Baldwin hit 6-of-8 free throws in the final two minutes as the Bears fouled in an attempt to regain the ball.
The Bulldogs got off to a good start, leading 17-12 at the end of the first quarter on Jones and Smith’s outside shooting and Kehl and junior Jessie Katzer’s work on the offensive glass.
“The offensive rebounds started us off well,” Kehl said. “We worked really hard all game. It was a tough game, especially with all the injuries..”
Baldwin’s Jones temporarily left the game wit an arm injury near the end of the first half.
Baldwin saw it five-point lead dwindle in the second quarter as it struggled to score and turned the ball over against St. Marys press and trapping zone defense. The Bears cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 19-17 before Kehl scored the team’s first field goal of the period with 3 minutes remaining.
The Bulldogs will next play the winner of the Wellsville-Bonner Springs game at 6:45 p.m. Thursday. Bonner Springs is the tournament’s top seed, undefeated and ranked seventh in Kansas 4A.
Baldwin 49, St. Marys 40
Baldwin 17 6 9 18 – 49
St. Marys 12 7 8 13 - 40
Baldwin: Jorgensen, 5, Jones, 14, Smith, 14, Katzer, 2, Kelh, 9, Barnes 2
St. Marys: P. Thomas, 4, C. Thomas, 11, Moylan, 8, Davis, 7, McDowell, 2, White, 2, Eastes, 6.