Archive for Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Bobcats bounced, 79-58

Boost from the bench not enough to tame Lions

December 24, 2003

The Bobcats got a big lift from their bench and finally got their offense really clicking against Lansing on Friday, Dec. 19.

But it still wasn't enough to earn their first victory, as the Lions pulled away late to win 79-58.

The lift came from the potent inside-outside combination of Seth Lashbrook and Matt Marshall. Lashbrook was the first Bobcat off the bench and made his presence felt immediately, knocking down a three-pointer in the first quarter to cut Lansing's lead to 13-7. The junior finished with a team-high 14 points, including 4 of 8 from beyond the arc.

But while Lashbrook was sparking the Basehor offense by draining his first three three-pointers, Lansing was methodically breaking down the Bobcats' interior defense and scoring at will in the paint. Lansing post players Billy Morehead and Jeff Slater combined for 16 points inside in the first half.

The work of Morehead and Slater opened up the outside for senior guard Brian Kern, who had 15 first-half points, including three three-pointers.

But thanks to Lansing's high-scoring trio, the Lions led only 41-35 at halftime, thanks in large part to Lashbrook's hot hand and an offensive flow that allowed all 10 Bobcats who dressed for the game to score in the first half.

"The guys played with a lot of emotion and a lot of hustle, and we really got some good offensive production," coach Bruce Courtney said.

But the Bobcats were slow coming out of the break, falling behind 51-38. With Lashbrook cooling off, Basehor needed another spark offensively and got it from Marshall, a somewhat unlikely source.

The 6-foot-7 senior had been the last man off the Basehor bench in the first four games, but when he got his chance against Lansing he took advantage. He dominated the end of the third quarter, scoring six points and adding an assist to fuel a 9-0 Basehor run that cut the lead to 54-49.

"I don't really play that hard in practice, so I just tried to get that tempo up and get some more playing time," Marshall said. "Coach put me in the game so I figured I'd show him what I could do."

Marshall proved he could do a lot. Lansing had no answer for his combination of height and strength inside and when he got the ball in the paint he was nearly unstoppable. He finished 6 of 8 from the field for 12 points and added seven rebounds and four blocks.

"He was just a force," said Nick Box, Marshall's frontcourt mate. "He did everything he's supposed to."

The Basehor crowd was also appreciative of Marshall's effort, gaining volume with every put-back or block the senior had. Despite the attention Marshall showed veteran poise, playing within himself.

"I really don't listen to the crowd, I just do my own thing," Marshall said.

Marshall's flurry got Basehor back in the game, but in the fourth quarter the Lions stepped up the defensive intensity, and the Bobcats struggled. A stretch of turnovers allowed Lansing to pull away and win easily in what had been a close, hard-fought game.

"At one point I looked up at the scoreboard and asked my coaches how we could be down that much," Courtney said.

Despite the final score, there were plenty of positives for the Bobcats to take into the winter break, starting with Marshall's emergence.

"He's now decided he's going to be more dedicated to effort in practice," Courtney said. "That's good because that will challenge everybody to step it up a notch."

Box's play was also a sign of good things to come for Basehor. The junior got his first start of the season Friday and pulled down seven rebounds to tie Marshall for the team lead. He also showed good range on his jump shot for a post player and the strength and agility to score inside. With Box, Marshall, Garyn Gorup, Adam Smith and Joel Vandervelde inside, the Bobcats have frontcourt depth that few teams can match.

"All of us being able to come in at any time, I think that really helps out the team," Box said.

Despite Friday's loss, Courtney was encouraged by the solid offensive performance the Bobcats put together and said he didn't want the winter break to kill that momentum.

"I almost hate to say 'momentum' with a loss, but I told the guys to remember this and don't let it get away," Courtney said, "I told them to think about it every day until they get back."

The Bobcats have the holiday season off before heading to Santa Fe Trail on Tuesday, Jan. 6.

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