Basehor-Linwood holds on to knock off De Soto for its first win of the season
It didn't take anybody on the Basehor-Linwood boys basketball team more than two words to describe their feelings after the Bobcats won their first game of the season Friday, Jan. 11 at De Soto.
"Finally," quipped junior point guard John Grube with a smile that stretched from ear to ear.
"Thank God," BLHS coach Bruce Courtney said after accepting congratulations from another coach.
And countless "yeah baby's" bounced off the walls of the BLHS locker room and into the hallway. Needless to say, the Bobcats were excited about their first win of the season.
As they filed out of the visitor's locker room, the Basehor-Linwood team that entered the game with an 0-8 record looked like a team that had just won a championship. Some looked elated, others looked relieved and still others looked a discombobulated mix between the two.
"I think we're all relieved," Courtney said. "But we're all very excited, too. Everyone of those kids stepped up and overcame some huge obstacles tonight. That was exactly the test we needed and we're going to enjoy this one for a while."
The win came just three days after BLHS's fourth-quarter collapse against Mill Valley. At Mill Valley, BLHS led by eight points in the third quarter only to see their lead turn to an eight-point deficit early on in the fourth quarter. Courtney said that experience helped his team persevere through a game at De Soto that was similar in nearly every way.
Thanks to a 6-0 run to end the half, the Bobcats led by two at the break despite having senior center Eric Peeler on the bench for the entire first quarter with two fouls. Once the teams returned for the second half, the Bobcats were dealt another blow when junior Brandon Dye was ejected for throwing an elbow.
The ejection came without warning and Dye said the elbow he threw to create space barely grazed the defender's face. However, the De Soto player dropped to the floor prompting the referee to throw Dye out of the game.
"Losing Dye was a tough thing for us, but it was just another obstacle that we had to overcome," Courtney said. "Our guys did a tremendous job of meeting each challenge that presented itself and they came together out there like never before."
Through three quarters the Bobcats led by seven points, setting the stage for them to capture their first win of the season. But as has been the case so many times already, nothing was going to come easy.
For most of the fourth quarter the Bobcats' lead wavered between six and nine points. With just under five minutes remaining, however, De Soto unleashed a 6-0 run and pulled to within a point. From there, the Bobcats were forced to win the game from the free throw line.
On six of their final eight possessions the Bobcats were sent to the free throw line and on all six of those occasions the Bobcats nailed both charity shots. Bronson Schaake was four for four in the critical stretch, as was Grube, Peeler and sophomore Garyn Gorup drilled a pair each to extend the lead and preserve the victory.
"You could just see it in their eyes that they weren't going to let this one get away," Courtney said.
Grube, who was so pumped up that he banked one of his free throws in off the glass, agreed with Courtney and said that's exactly what the team had in mind down the stretch.
"That was a little adrenaline right there," Grube said of his free throw. "There was a point where I saw it coming again but we grew from that loss to Mill Valley and we calmed ourselves down, got some scores and pulled out the victory. I'll actually like to look at the box score tomorrow I might even put it on the fridge."
Grube led the Bobcats in scoring with 15 points while Schaake chipped in eight points and Gorup added nine.