Bobcats born to run
Basehor-Linwood gets set to turn up the tempo
A large plastic garbage can sat in the middle of the floor of Basehor-Linwood practice gym last week, a silent challenge to the group of girls gasping for air on the baseline.
The can was Mardy Robinson's unique motivational tool.
Robinson, the BLHS girls basketball coach, is trying to make sure her team can run and gun for four quarters this year.
"We need them to be a little tougher, have a little better conditioning," Robinson said. "So we told them they might have to run until they puke."
None of the BLHS players were huddled over the garbage can after practice, but none of them had much breath left either.
Robinson wanted her players to give up that breath during practice to make sure they would have enough once the season started, something they had trouble with last year.
"We lost five games in the fourth quarter, games lost because of conditioning," Robinson said.
The Bobcats started last season 4-1, but couldn't maintain that pace, dropping to 8-13 by the end of the year.
Robinson said conditioning would be doubly important this year because the Bobcats were looking to open up their offense.
"We were a post-dominated team last year," Robinson said. "This year we're going to use our quickness more."
The Bobcats will be led this year by seniors Alex Jeannin, Kelly Schaffer, Katie Burchfield, Nicole Kirk and Ashley Odle.
Morgan Kenney, a junior with varsity experience, also figures to play a prominent role.
But no one player is more important to Robinson's up-tempo plan than Jeannin, the team's point guard and a four-year varsity starter.
"Alex is great at seeing the floor and running the fast break," Robinson said.
With Jeannin leading the charge, the Bobcats should be fun to watch, especially against Lansing and De Soto, teams Robinson said she expected to be strong this year.
Robinson also expects local rivals Tonganoxie and Bonner Springs to put up a strong fight, as they always do.
But if the Bobcats can keep up the pace Robinson is setting for them, the Bravettes and Lady Chieftains may be huddled over garbage cans in the fourth quarter when they come to Basehor.
The Bobcats will open their season Friday, Dec. 5 when they travel to Clay Center. Tipoff is expected around 6 p.m.