Baldwin High School Girls Basketball Highlighted in Newsday
Lady Bruins Win Long Island Class AA Crown
Outside of pandemic years, the ability to play in the girls basketball Long Island Class AA championship game has seemingly been a right for Baldwin. But the Bruins players never took that for granted and were tested with injuries to key players before this season began.
But the Baldwin girls basketball team proved once again why it’s one of the best programs on Long Island in recent memory regardless of sport with its 39-32 victory over Whitman in the Long Island Class AA championship/Southeast Regional Final at Farmingdale State Saturday afternoon.
“It was tough but we are tough people,” said senior guard Katelyn Simpson, who scored 13 points. “It just feels great with all the injuries we overcame, went to physical therapy and we just pushed through and that’s what’s allowed us to be here again.”
Baldwin (22-2) advances to play Webster Schroeder in the state Class AA semifinals at Hudson Valley Community College Friday at 6:15 p.m. It’s Baldwin’s second straight trip to the state semifinals after winning its ninth straight county final.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these kids,” coach Tom Catapano said. “To think we are starting three sophomores and an eighth grader out there and for them to deal with what we have with the major injuries and overcome that, it’s a tribute to the 12-month-a-year grind. And as their coach, I couldn’t be more proud.”
Payton Dulin scored 17 of her 19 points in the first half, including nine points in the first quarter as Baldwin opened a 13-5 lead after the period.
“I was trying to attack my matchups really hard,” Dulin said. “We knew a lot about the other team about what they could and couldn’t do, so I just tried to attack my matchups and score the ball.”
Baldwin never trailed Saturday. The Bruins led 23-14 at halftime and 30-24 after the third quarter. Iris Hoffman hit a three-pointer for the first points of the fourth quarter for Whitman, but that was the final time the score was within one possession.
Simpson played tough defense on Hoffman throughout. The standout junior guard had 16 points for Whitman, which won its first county title in program history and finished 21-4 this season.
Baldwin had three players suffer major knee injuries before the season, including All-Long Island selection Dallysshya Moreno. But the Bruins didn't let it deter them from their end goal.
“Katelyn is in my opinion one of the best two-way players on Long Island,” Catapano said. … “She’s everything for us. She sets the table for us on offense, she guards the other team’s best player and she’s that senior leader that we need on the floor this time of year.”
Baldwin reached the state final last year before losing to Bishop Kearney, 63-57. The Bruins want to avenge that final loss.
“That was really devastating when we lost that last game and we’re trying to get back up there this year,” Simpson said. “That’s the goal.”
Simpson said the success of previous teams serves as additional motivation every year for the next group to cement its own legacy. They don’t compare themselves to the previous teams but they aspire to mirror and create their own success.
“We constantly talk about the people that came here before them and I think it’s very important for them to understand the tradition that we have here and the blood, sweat and tears that the people before them gave and laid the foundation,” Catapano said. “And I think they want to carry that torch at this point and they want to continue the legacy.”
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