Archive for Wednesday, December 26, 2001

The year in review: Basehor’s top six sports stories

December 26, 2001

With this being the final issue of The Sentinel before the new year comes charging in, we've decided to take a look back at the year in Basehor-Linwood sports.

The Basehor and Linwood areas saw many exciting events unfold in the sports world during 2001 and after careful review, we've separated six events from all the rest.

In our special two-part feature, we will recap three of the top six stories this week and the top three stories of the year will be recapped next week.

The past year was a great year for sports in this area, so without further ado, here's a look back:

No. 6 Miller leaves, Courtney given hoops job at BLHS In a move that gave the Bobcats their third head basketball coach in three seasons, seven-year Bobcat veteran Bruce Courtney was given the head coaching job to replace the departing Dan Miller. Miller, who filled the post for just one season after replacing longtime BLHS coach Don Hills, led the Bobcats to a second place finish in the Kaw Valley League and a 14-6 record. After the season, however, Miller decided to pursue a coaching career in another part of the country and BLHS athletic director Joe Keeler was forced to find a replacement.

Keeler looked far and wide, and interviewed a few candidates, but in the end he found the best man for the job was right under his nose. In Courtney's first year at BLHS, he was the boys freshman coach. Two years later, he was promoted to the JV squad and served as an assistant varsity coach. Before the beginning of the 2001 season, Courtney said he always thought his path would lead him to the varsity job, the difference was he thought he'd be replacing Hills, not Miller. Nonetheless, Courtney was anxious and excited to take over the team and although they have struggled out of the gates, the players and the coaching staff have enjoyed Courtney's tenure so far.

No. 5 NASCAR comes to Basehor area - After years of waiting and months of constructing, Kansas' newest and largest tourist attraction was set to open. The Kansas Speedway set its opening day for June 2, 2001, and when the green flag dropped at the NASCAR Winston West Series Kansas 100, a new dimension of sports had come to Kansas NASCAR. The 2001 season was the biggest that NASCAR has ever seen nationally, and when the big boys brought their cars to Kansas in late September the frenzy reached a new level. Traffic routes were redesigned and business was supposed to flourish. In some instances, it did, but in others the traffic routes caused more problems than anticipated as they cut off access to several areas of Basehor.

Several stores and vendors had signs on their windows or in their parking lots that read "Welcome Race Fans" and for weeks at a time during 2001 the Basehor area looked like the racing capital of the world.

In the big race, the Protection One 400, NASCAR's brightest star did not disappoint. Jeff Gordon the Rainbow Warrior won in a stunning, late-race move that had race fans talking for weeks. After the race, Gordon had only good things to say about the newest track on the NASCAR circuit. He later compared the track to a fine wine that, with age, will only get better. The Kansas Speedway also hosted several other events during the 2001 racing season, and track officials have nothing but optimism for 2002.

No. 4 BLHS volleyball advances to second round of sub-state It might not seem like the greatest of accomplishments, but when the Basehor-Linwood volleyball team advanced to the second round of the sub-state tournament at Lansing High School in October, it was a milestone of sorts. The achievement marked the first time in four years that the Bobcat volleyball team had advanced past the first round of sub-state. And consid

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