Bobcats take fourth at BSHS tournament
Basehor-Linwood's wrestling team has been undermanned lately, but that has not stopped the Bobcats from overmatching their opponents. In two trips to the mat last week, the Bobcats split a home dual with Tonganoxie and Immaculata and then went on to take fourth in the Bonner Springs tournament on Saturday.
Despite the high finishes, Bobcat coach Scott Neil said the team is not performing like they should be.
"I wasn't real happy with how we wrestled when we got to the finals," Neil said of his team's performance at the Bonner Springs tournament. "But the kids wrestled hard and I was proud of the way they competed. I thought we should've finished no lower than second."
After all was said and done, the Bobcats landed in the fourth position, behind Paola, Bellevue East and Bonner Springs.
Neil said the main reason the Bobcats struggled was because they were missing two guys heading into the tournament. Senior Matt Dukes missed the tournament because he couldn't make weight and senior Joe Bell sat out with a skin condition.
The Bonner Springs tournament marked the second straight outing that Dukes had missed. He was kept out of the Bobcats' dual meet with Tonganoxie and Immaculata on Thursday, Jan. 3, after missing three practices over the Christmas break. Neil said, however, that if Dukes had made weight on Saturday, he would've wrestled in the tournament and that he will be back for the Bobcat Classic this weekend.
Bell's absence left another weight class open and when junior Brandon Buck was slammed to the mat in the semi-finals, injuring his neck, the Bobcats were quickly three men down.
"I knew we were going to have to be on top of our game to begin with, with Dukes and Bell out, and then when Brandon went down we were hurting a little more. But we did have some kids who wrestled well."
At the top of that list was 112-pound sophomore Cody Bell. Bell cruised through the bracket pinning two of his opponents and earning decisions against the other two to take the win. The four wins improved his record to 7-3 on the year and Neil said Bell has been one of the most consistent wrestlers on the team this season.
"That was probably the best he's wrestled all season," Neil said of Bell. "But he's been good for us all year. He's capable of doing that every time out and he's capable of doing that at state, too."
Bell said the victory did wonders to improve his confidence.
"I beat good people and when I do that it inspires me to work harder in practice," Bell said. "I love to face good competition before a big tournament like ours and that just helps my confidence a lot."
Bell was not the only Bobcat to do well at the Bonner Springs tournament. Four others placed second and another finished fourth. Joe Johnson, Tim Morgan, Matt Gillette and Craig Bower all advanced to the finals but lost and Billy Crum lost in the third-place match to take fourth.
Neil said having Dukes, Bell and Buck in the lineup for the Bonner Springs tournament would've made a difference, but that their absence was nothing too unusual.
"Those types of things happen," he said. "You've just gotta keep going with it and we did. We had some guys wrestle very well in their place and we've gotta keep that effort going throughout the rest of the year."
Next up will be one of the biggest tournaments of the year the Bobcat Classic. BLHS hosts the event that will welcome 21 of the top teams from four states. Neil said his team is not exactly where he hoped they would be heading into the Classic. But he also said he knows they'll give everything they've got to do well at their own tournament.
Joe Johnson said he just hopes everybody else does, too.
"We've definitely got a home court advantage and I just hope people will come out here and support us and get this place rocking," Johnson said.
The Bobcat Classic will kick off at 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11.
1. Paola, 182.5
2. Bellevue East, 140.5
3. Bonner Springs, 137
4. Basehor-Linwood, 113
5. Topeka Seaman, 110
6. SM Northwest, 69.5
7. Highland Park, 57
8. Blue Valley, 54.5
9. Bishop Miege, 44.5
10. JC Harmon, 43
112 Cody Bell: 3-0, first place.
119 Craig Bower: 2-1, second place.
130 Tim Morgan: 2-1, second place.
135 Billy Crum: 2-2, fourth place.
140 Jeff Lackner: 1-2.
145 Brian Fish: 1-2.
152 Brandon Buck: 1-2, dflt injury.
160 Jeremy Sheehan: 1-1.
171 Joe Johnson: 2-1, second place.
215 Nick Pike: 1-2.
275 Matt Gillette: 2-1, second place.