The Ottawa High School girls basketball team has been digging big holes and then attempting to rally. That same scenario played out Friday in Baldwin City.
The Cyclones fell behind 23-7 at halfime but gave the state-ranked Bulldogs a run in the second half. Baldwin ended up prevailing, 41-34.
“The second half, we woke up,” Ottawa coach Matt Schurman said. “We have a tendency to take halves off and then have to come back from being down 20 points. We have to stop digging such a deep hole. It is hard to win games when you score seven points in a half.”
Schurman said the game plan was to start the game like they played the second half. The start was good as Ottawa trailed 7-5 early but only scored two points the rest of the first half.
“They put a ton of pressure on you,” Schurman said. “We had point-blank shots that did not fall.”
Ottawa took the ball right at Baldwin junior 6-foot-2 post Jenna Harvey. Schurman said Harvey is a beast on defense.
“We were not going to challenge because she was so much bigger than us,” Schurman said. “We continued to drive it right at her. She had seven or eight blocks in the first half. She definitely changed the game for them. We got a little smarter in the way we attacked her (in the second half).”
Schurman would like to bottle up the second-half execution and play that way going forward in all four quarters.
“Shots started falling,” he said. “We had a better defensive play. We did a good job (limiting Baldwin) in transition. I love the girls, they continue to fight. We don’t always take the easy path. Losing is tough. We are competing. We are not getting blown out.”
Schurman said these players have not given up, despite going through the long skid.
“These girls are strong-minded,” Schurman said. “It has been a struggle for our program. They continue to fight. We had some big moments.”
Schurman said seniors Brittny Hornbuckle and Ashlynn Evans have helped a build a foundation for the future.
“They have been part of building a program that they can be proud of,” he said. “Hopefully, next year, we take a big step forward. That will be big part of what they have done for us.”
Ottawa closes the regular season Friday at Spring Hill.
Baldwin (41) — Boyle 13, Smith 9, Harvey 6, Burnett 3, Morgan 3, Neufeld 2, Furan 2.
Ottawa (34) — Ficken 11, Titus 8, Curtis 5, K. Evans 4, Spigle 3, Hadl 2.