Bobcats bust out
BLHS earns second win of season, matching last season’s total
Coaching the Basehor-Linwood boys' basketball team may be hazardous to Bruce Courtney's health.
The Bobcats won their second straight stress-inducing game when they defeated Mill Valley 44-43 Friday, Dec. 13 at home.
Trailing most of the game, senior Brandon Dye hit a layup with 12 seconds left in the game, and the Bobcats pulled out the win.
Courtney laughed at the suggestion that these close wins are bad for his health.
"They're exciting," he said. "They're awfully fun, and it is easier when you're on the winning side. The key is that it is a win. It doesn't matter if it is by one point or 20. It's a win."
The Bobcats came out slow in the first half, creating a deficit they would have to chip away at. By the end of the first quarter, the Bobcats trailed 17-10, and they would never have the lead in the first three quarters.
Courtney said the reason his team started poorly is a mystery to him.
"I don't know what the answer to that is," he said. "I haven't figured that one out. I don't know the magical cure, but I know it is not motivation."
However, the slow start set the scene for an incredible finish.
At the start of the fourth quarter, BLHS had tied the game, 29-29. Just 30 seconds into the quarter, senior Brian Gripka gave the Bobcats their first lead of the game with his third of five three-pointers in the contest.
From there, the teams traded leads all the way through to the final minute.
At the 1:01 mark, Gripka hit his fifth and final three to give the Bobcats a 42-41 lead.
Gripka scored 15 points on the night, all of which came at crucial times in the second half.
"That was huge for Brian," Courtney said. "He has struggled in the first two games. He has been pressing and trying too hard. Tonight it clicked for him and it helped his confidence."
In front of a deafening crowd, a Mill Valley player hit one of two free throws to tie the game at 42 with 22 seconds left in the game.
Basehor-Linwood had an opportunity to hold for the last shot, but senior Brandon Dye, who finished with nine points, found his way to the basketball for a layup with 12 seconds left, giving Mill Valley plenty of time to respond.
Mill Valley nearly responded in a big way. Junior Garyn Gorup fouled a Mill Valley player as he was shooting, and the shot nearly fell. Instead of tying the game with a chance to win, though, Mill Valley had two free throws to tie the game with 0.7 seconds left in the game.
The first free throw connected, but the second bounced off the rim. Time expired and Basehor-Linwood escaped with a 44-43 victory.
Courtney said he could not think of one reason why the Bobcats were able to pull off the win. A lot of variables factored in.
"We just kept hanging in there," Courtney said. "We got some breaks, and they missed some shots. Really, we got lucky. Basically, it was just a few little things.
"Mill Valley did an outstanding job, but we got some breaks."
One factor that gave Basehor-Linwood a chance to win was its bench. The Bobcats got into foul trouble early, and the bench had to pick up the slack.
"Our bench stepped up tremendously," Courtney said. "You can go down the line and everybody helped us. I can't ask any more of them."
Bobcats 48, Tonganoxie 50
Four nights after sliding past Mill Valley, the Bobcats were unable to complete a comeback and fell to Tonganoxie, 50-48.
BLHS got balanced scoring from four players, but could not overcome a second quarter where they were outscored 14-5.
The Bobcats will host Lansing Friday, Dec. 20, before taking two weeks off for winter break. Tip time is set for 7 p.m.