Bulldogs struggle in non-league games

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

What’s up? Monique Britton puts up a shot for Berne-Knox-Westerlo from under the basket last Saturday at Saint Rose during a non-league game against Greenville. The Bulldogs lost, 52 to 30, and Britton scored five points; she averages 11.3 per game.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Basketball bouquet: Berne-Knox-Westerlo and Greenville met for the second time this season, this time at Saint Rose last Saturday for a Coaches Vs. Cancer event, and the Spartans won big. Here, players from both teams reach for the ball. The Bulldogs are winless in non-league play.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Under pressure: Senior Delaney Martin tries to keep possession of the basketball for Berne-Knox-Westerlo during last Saturday’s game against Greenville at Saint Rose. The Bulldogs lost, 52 to 30, and Martin scored five points. BKW is 8-1 in the Western Athletic Conference and going for its sixth straight Southern division title.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

The jump: Greenville’s Sarah Amedure tries to distract Berne-Knox-Westerlo’s Kathryn Salo by jumping in her face last Saturday at Saint Rose. The Bulldogs lost by 22 points, and Salo scored 10 points, which is her average. 

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Diligent drive: Danielle Keppler, right, attacks the lane for Berne-Knox-Westerlo during a non-league game against Greenville last Saturday. Keppler scored eight points.

The Berne-Knox-Westerlo girls' basketball team is trying to win its sixth Western Athletic Conference Southern title in as many years. The Bulldogs are 8-1 in the WAC, but 0-6 in non-league games, including last Saturday's 52-to-30 loss to Greenville at Saint Rose.

BKW has taken what it has learned from tough out-of-conference games and used it to beat the WAC competition.

"We get our butts kicked in non-league, then come back to the WAC and kick butt," Head Coach Tom Galvin said after the loss to Greenville. "If you play cupcakes, you turn into cupcakes. We could play teams that we know we can beat, but we set it up to be tough so we know what it takes to win a sectional title. It's hard; we don't like to get our butts kicked, but it makes us stronger.

The Bulldogs already lost to Greenville earlier in the season, 41 to 21. BKW's other non-league losses are to Ichabod Crane (63-18), Maple Hill (64-21), Waterville (50-28), and Herkimer (59-31).

"Playing a great team really helps us in the long run," senior Delaney Marin said last Saturday. "The games are at a faster pace, and then we go back to the WAC and it's better."

BKW wasn't playing well at the beginning of the season, sophomore Kathryn Salo said, but then the players got closer together, and got more into a basketball routine. Both Salo and Martin are happy with how the team has stuck together despite hard losses in non-league play.

How important is a sixth straight WAC Southern title?

"We have to keep it going," Martin said. "I don't want to be that team that loses it."

Salo told The Enterprise that people doubted the Bulldogs this season because it lost five seniors to graduation in 2013, including Liz Harvey, one of the best players in BKW history. Galvin said that he knew the team was talented, but getting chemistry with the new line-up took some time.

"Sometimes, people would call out from the bleachers, 'You're nothing without so-and-so,' or whatever, but we ended up winning the game anyway," said Salo. "Winning makes us feel a lot better; we can do it."

Even though BKW is getting roughed up in non-league play, Galvin says that his team is "pretty darn good."

"We have shocked a lot of people," he added. "Some said we wouldn't win five games, but we've made leaps and bounds. I'm very proud."