Baldwin girls alone in first place
The Baldwin girls earned a come-from-behind 39-34 victory Tuesday against De Soto to take sole possession of first place in the Frontier League.
It didn’t appear early as if Baldwin would be celebrating a victory. De Soto broke to at 17-11 halftime advantage and increased its lead to 19-11 with two free throws early in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs struggled against the Wildcats zone in the first half, scoring only four points in the second quarter. Martin attributed the first-half woes to turnovers and missed shots in the paint.
“I thought we would eventually go down,” he said. “I didn’t tell them anything special at halftime. I just told them to stay with it.”
The defense was solid throughout the game, although the Bulldogs were challenged by 6-1 sophomore Megan Bonar and 5-9 senior Paige Williams, Martin said.
The comeback started two minutes into the third period when junior Katie Jones connected from outside the arch for three of her team-high 14 points. The Bulldogs followed the coach’s advice to stay with it and began getting points in the paint. Jessie Katzer, Katie Kehl and Maddie Ogle would all score in the post before the quarter ended with the game tied, 23-23.
Jones knotted the game at 26 all with a 3-pointer and put the Bulldogs in front for the first time since early in the opening quarter with a field goal at the 5:02 mark in the fourth quarter. Back-to-back efforts plays — a layup from Kailyn Smith, who chased down a long outlet pass and found a lane to the basket through De Soto defenders, and two free throws from Jones after she was fouled on the second of two offensive rebounds against taller Wildcat players — gave Baldwin a 32-26 cushion for 3:41 to play.
Baldwin would enjoy its biggest lead of the night, 37-29, when Ogle converted a traditional three-play with 1:42 left in the game. Jones snuffed out any hopes for a Wildcat comeback with two free throws with 4 seconds remaining.
The Bulldogs improved to 11-3 on the year and 5-1 in Frontier League play and have now faced every team in the league once. De Soto dropped to 4-2 with the loss.
The victory was also important to the Bulldogs for seeding in the sub-state tournament.
“We’re in a good position,” Baldwin coach Bob Martin said. “But they don’t give out anything for half a season. We have to keep up the good work in the second half.”
Baldwin will be on the road Friday at Paola, who gave the Bulldogs their only league loss.
Baldwin 39, De Soto 34
Baldwin (11-3) 7 4 12 16 - 39
De Soto (8-6) 8 9 5 12 - 34
Baldwin: Maddie Ogle 8, Kaitlin Jorgensen 3, Katie Jones 14, Kailyn Smith 4, Jessie Katzer 4, Katie Kehl 6
De Soto: Katie Gehrt 1, Paige Williams 17, Megan Bonar 14, Taylor Saucerman 2, Megan Brashears 2