BLHS ends season on a telling note
The third time certainly wasn't a charm, but it was without a doubt more charming than Basehor-Linwood's previous two matches against De Soto.
After losing earlier in the season 5-1 and 4-0, the Bobcats' soccer team was determined to come out and play tougher in first round regional action against the Wildcats. For the most part, they did, losing 2-0 to end their season.
"I think we stepped it up quite a bit today," senior defender Joe Johnson said. "We played hard and that's really all that matters. Of course, we wanted to go on and win a state championship you never want to lose but I think the fact that we played hard and gave it our best effort really says a lot about our team."
Like Johnson, BLHS coach Lee Sigley said he was also extremely proud of the effort his team showed.
"I think we played pretty decent," Sigley said. "The effort was there, and we were a break or two from a really good game. It was definitely a good way to go out."
For a while it looked like the Bobcats might not go out at all. Entering the season, De Soto was one of the heavy favorites to contend for a state title, so the Bobcats knew they had their hands full in the first round. But what they didn't know was that almost 20 minutes into the game they'd still be tied and right in the thick of things.
"The longer we stayed with them the better our chances got," Sigley said.
For 19 minutes the Bobcats played even up with De Soto, challenging for every loose ball and thwarting every Wildcat rush. But in the 20th minute of play, De Soto's Jeff Cooper harmlessly chipped the ball toward the BLHS net and over the head of goalie Charles Millison.
Cooper's goal came on De Soto's seventh shot of the game. At the time, the Bobcats had only managed one shot on goal and by the time the final horn sounded the Bobcats were outshot 28-6. Sigley said that figure was a bit misleading because of the quality of the De Soto shots, but added that the unbalanced offense was a major reason for the final score.
Just before halftime, the Bobcats had two of their best scoring chances of the day when their forwards and midfielders pushed up and forced the action.
On three separate occasions, the Bobcats had chances to penetrate the DHS defense for a two-on-one opportunity. Bad bounces, bad breaks or empty tanks kept the chances from materializing into serious scoring threats, however, and the Bobcats reached halftime trailing 1-0.
Right out of the gates in the second half the Bobcats fell further behind. Three minutes in, DHS's Peter Crall received a pass deep inside the Bobcats' box and hammered a shot by the helpless Millison. Crall was too deep for Millison to even react before the ball crossed the goal line, and all of a sudden the Bobcats trailed by an insurmountable two goals.
The Bobcats finished the season with the same record they had a year ago, 4-11-1. Sigley said he thought this year's team could've won a few more games, but that he never doubted the effort. Despite the record, most of the players were also proud, especially of the way they finished the season.
"We finished strong," Johnson said. "Not by wins but by effort and that kind of helped give us a good name."