Archive for Thursday, December 18, 2003

Bobcats struggling

0-4 start has BLHS boys searching for answers

December 18, 2003

Another slow start doomed the Basehor-Linwood boys basketball team last Friday. Mill Valley jumped out to a 21-5 lead, and though the Bobcats battled evenly the rest of the way, they were never able to make up the deficit. Despite a strong defensive effort, Basehor lost 55-35.

Basehor came out in a 2-3 zone on defense that had mixed results. It forced the Jaguars into long offensive sets but also made Basehor vulnerable to offensive rebounds and outside shots.

Mill Valley's David Woods and Jacob Eaton took advantage. Woods, a junior guard, hit two three-pointers and the 6-foot-4 Eaton scored 11 points on a variety of put-backs and lay-ins during the Jaguars' early run.

"Basically we couldn't keep them off the boards, and that was the key," Basehor coach Bruce Courtney said. "They did a good job of sneaking in and getting inside of our guys. About the time we figured out where they were coming from, another guy came from somewhere else."

At the same time BLHS was struggling to control its own backboard, the Bobcats were also struggling with turnovers created by Mill Valley's full-court pressure.

"We hadn't seen a press all year. It kind of shook us up," said senior guard John Shumaker.

It was Shumaker who finally settled the Bobcats down, hitting a three-pointer and then stealing the ball and taking it coast-to-coast for a lay-up on the next possession. Shumaker led the Bobcats with 11 points in the game, going 4-8 from the field. His five-point run drew Basehor to within 21-10, but that was as close as the team would get the rest of the way.

The Bobcats got solid perimeter play on the defensive end, as well, as Shumaker and fellow guard Brett Dowdall both had three steals, but foul trouble hurt the Bobcats' big men. Both Garyn Gorup and Adam Smith were forced to limit their minutes because of early whistles.

Both were effective when in the game, though. The two combined for 10 points on 5-10 shooting. Gorup, despite his foul troubles, remained a force on defense, blocking five shots.

"I was actually more fired up because of the fouls, because that was time that I had to sit out when I could have been playing," Gorup said. "I got more aggressive, I was just trying to be smarter about it."

The Bobcats' team defense was strong Friday, giving up none of the easy baskets that Jordy Greene and Clay Center took advantage of in the season opener. But, for much of the game the shots just weren't falling on the offensive end, and in the third quarter Basehor found itself in a 41-16 hole.

That's when Joel Vandervelde came in and provided a spark.

The junior center scored six points and had an assist and a block during an 8-0 run that fired up the Bobcats. Vandervelde finished with nine points, two blocks and two assists. Basehor also got a lift off the bench from junior Nick Box, who led the team with six rebounds.

Despite trailing by 19 points going into the fourth quarter, the Bobcats showed no signs of giving up, with many players encouraging each other to step it up in the huddle.

"We stay together pretty good and we always play hard," Shumaker said. "As long as we keep doing that good things will happen."

Gorup, Smith and Vandervelde controlled the frontcourt in the fourth quarter, leaving the Bobcats to wonder if the game might have turned out differently if not for some questionable foul calls that limited their minutes.

But Courtney was already looking ahead after the game, echoing Shumaker's sentiments.

"These guys put out a lot of effort. The rest will start happening," Courtney said.

The Bobcats took another step towards earning their first victory on Tuesday but ultimately came up short. Facing Tonganoxie at home, the Bobcats came out of the gate strong, something they'd struggled with in previous games. They matched the Chieftains nearly basket for basket in the first half, and when Cody Herbster hit a jumper to open the third quarter, the Bobcats were only down 21-26. But those two points were the only ones for Basehor in the quarter, as a rash of turnovers helped Tonganoxie go on an 11-0 run.

The Bobcats recovered to match the Chieftains' scoring again in the fourth quarter but couldn't make up any ground. The final score was Tonganoxie 54, Basehor-Linwood 37.

The Bobcats got strong performances from Gorup, who had 7 blocked shots and Shumaker, who led the team with 8 points, three assists and two steals. Mike Armstrong came off the bench to lead the team in rebounding with five.

The Bobcats' next game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19 at Lansing.

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