Lady ‘Cats future uncertain
Alex Jeannin ready to begin season as starting point guard
Questions cloud the start of Basehor-Linwood's girls basketball season.
Right now, Bobcats head coach Mardy Robinson does not know what to expect from her team, but as always improvement is her goal.
"Last year, we got through the first round of substate, so we'd like to improve on that," Robinson said. "We want to continue getting better."
The 2002 campaign saw the Lady Bobcats go 11-11 overall and 8-8 in the Kaw Valley League.
In order to improve upon that record, some questions will have to be answered.
"There's a lot of unknowns this year because it is a really new group," Robinson said. "We will see who wants to step up."
But even with the questions surrounding who will step up and how good the team will be, Robinson said she thinks the Bobcats have a chance to be good because of chemistry.
"This is the best chemistry I've ever had with a team," she said. "The girls all get along really well and they all have the same goals. They're in it together, no one's out for themselves."
Robinson said she wouldn't know who would be the leaders this year, but two likely candidates are returning starters, junior Alex Jeannin and senior Aubrey Bittel.
Jeannin began last year as a starter, so she brings plenty of experience. As the point guard, she averaged 7.5 points a game and led the team in assists.
Bittel became a starter last year after an injury sidelined a player.
The team only has three other returning lettermen, seniors Lindsay Cunningham and Tiffany Bates and junior Katie Burchfield.
As a result, experience is not huge advantage for the team, but Robinson is optimistic. She hopes their junior varsity experience can result in varsity success.
"They have been really successful at JV," Robinson said. "We have the ability. It is just a matter of focusing those abilities."
Robinson said a few girls might be slow to adjust to the varsity level, but a lot of them played at least a few varsity minutes last year and that should help make the transition a smooth one.
Another question mark for Robinson is the quality of the Kaw Valley League this year.
"The league is wide open because some teams have lost a lot of players," Robinson said. "Plus the addition of Bonner Springs changes things a bit."
Robinson said one good thing about the uncertainty of the KVL is that the Bobcats should have an advantage with a two-year starting point guard running the show.
"It's big to have Alex back," Robinson said. "She plays hard all the time and she sees the floor so well. She's definitely one of the top point guards in the league and having that stability will be nice."
With Bonner Springs joining the KVL, the league adopted a new format for scheduling.
Instead of playing every team twice, teams will play some teams twice and others just once.
One result of the new format is that Basehor-Linwood will only play Santa Fe Trail once this year. Santa Fe Trail was 16-0 in league play last year and is a favorite to win this year.
"I don't know if playing them once is a benefit or not," Robinson said.
Robinson said she expects the Chargers to be the favorite to win the league, but that Bonner Springs could challenge SFT for the title.
As for her team, Robinson said if the Lady 'Cats stay injury-free they could finish in the league's upper echelon.
"I think we have the opportunity to finish in the top three or four," she said. "We're not very deep, so we can't have anyone get injured. But we have a shot to be pretty good."
The Bobcat will kick off their season when they play Clay Center at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6 at home.