Bobcats prepare for winter seasons
The sound that you hear coming from the gyms at Basehor-Linwood High School after school means only one thing: the winter sports season is just around the corner as practices have begun.
Both basketball teams will be under new leadership, but neither head coach is unfamiliar to the players.
The boys` head coach is Dan Miller, who for the past two seasons led the Lady Bobcats` team, and prior to that, coached the boys` freshman squad.
Miller takes over for long-time B-L coach Don Hills, who acquired a 297-215 record in 24 years in the district, including a 163-104 record the last 12 years at BLHS.
Until last year, when BLHS lost to Piper in the sub-state first round, the Bobcats had been a fixture in the 4A Sub-State finals, having advanced to the championship game every year since the 1994-95 season.
It was a tough season last year as Basehor-Linwood went 6-15, including a 4-10 mark in the Kaw Valley League.
The Bobcats lost six players from last year`s squad, including three starters, but B-L brings back a wealth of experience in returning starters Travis Fouts and Jackie Kimlin, along with reserves Mike Horn, Brandon Fisher and Colby Kooser, all seniors.
Like the boys` team, the Lady Bobcats` squad will have a new coach. Mardy Robinson takes over for Miller after a season as the girls` freshman coach.
Basehor-Linwood was 9-12 a year ago, including a 6-8 record in the KVL. The Lady Cats were 9-8 near the end of the regular season, but lost their last four games, including a 52-38 loss to Sumner Academy in the first round of the sub-state tourney.
The Lady Bobcats lost three players from last year`s team, two of them starters. But three starters Jackie Horn, Jeni Purtee and Kelly Laffere, all seniors, are back, as well as junior reserves Courtney Reed and Tara Lucas.
The basketball schedule for both squads should be interesting. Besides the 16 home and away games Basehor-Linwood will play against Kaw Valley League competition during the year, the Bobcats will christen the new gymnasium on Friday, Dec. 1, hosting Bonner Springs.
Also, midseason tournament plans are different than in year`s past as BLHS will host a week-long boys` and girls` basketball tournament, the Bobcat Invitational, Jan. 15-20.
Teams included in the tourney are Fort Scott, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, Pembroke Hill, Park Hill, Platte County, St. Joseph (Mo.) Benton and Mill Valley in the boys bracket, and Fort Scott, Lincoln Prep, Paseo, St. Teresa`s, St. Joe Benton, Mill Valley and Bonner Springs on the girls` side.
The Basehor-Linwood wrestlers, led by fifth-year head coach Scott Neil, are coming off a season that saw the Bobcats post an 11-1 dual record, including their second straight "unofficial" league dual title, going 7-0 for the second consecutive season.
BLHS was also the team champion at the Tonganoxie tournament and placed second at the Holton Invitational and at the KVL meet, where the Bobcats lost by just four points to Santa Fe Trail. Basehor-Linwood placed third at regionals and 16th at the 4A State tournament.
The Bobcats lost six wrestlers to graduation, but return three state qualifiers in sophomores Tim Morgan and Brandon Buck and junior Matt Dukes. Junior Joe Johnson is the only other letterwinner back and senior Nick Plesa returns after gaining a provisional letter.
The wrestling schedule is again a tough one. The Bobcats open the season at home with a double dual against Bonner Springs and Louisburg on Wednesday, Nov. 28, then get into the heart of the slate, competing in tournaments at Atchison County, Clay Center, Bonner Springs and Osawatomie.
Basehor-Linwood will also host a two-day, 20-team tournament, the Bobcat Classic, Friday-Saturday, Jan. 12-13.
This tournament will feature some of the best wrestlers in the state of Kansas, not to mention Glenwood, Iowa, considered to be one of the best teams there.
Eight of the teams in the tournament placed in the top-10 at their respective state meets last year, including Atchison County, which won the 3-2-1A title.
Also coming will be Garden City (4th in 6A), Fort Scott (5th in 5A), Columbus (6th in 4A), Paola (6th in 5A), Junction City (7th in 6A). Other teams are: Blue Valley, Bonner Springs, Chapman, Eudora, Harmon, Lawrence Free State, Olathe North, Shawnee Heights, Spring Hill, Sumner Academy, Turner and St. Thomas Aquinas.
Schedules appear on page 3B.