Two Bobcats reach finals
Bobcats snag two silvers, but Neil calls tournament a disappointment
Two wrestlers fought their way into the championship round of the Bobcat Classic for Basehor-Linwood, but head coach Scot Neil said his team's overall performance was less than desirable.
The Bobcat Classic is quickly becoming one of the most recognized wrestling tournaments in Kansas, but the Bobcats would rather forget this year's.
Basehor-Linwood finished fourteenth out of 22, a placing that did not impress the Bobcats' coach.
"It's their season," Neil said. "It's up to them. If they want to end their season with a losing record, it's their prerogative.
"I knew we didn't have a team that could win the tournament. We can't compete with Garden City, but my expectation was to be around seventh. We ended up seven spots worse than I thought we should have. It was a horrible performance."
Neil said the team had some bright spots during the weekend tournament, but they were rare. He said his team was not mentally ready to perform.
"To put it in a nut shell, we need to toughen up," he said. "Plain and simple, I'm not happy with our toughness. We're not as tough as we think we are."
Not all was lost for the Bobcats, however. Four wrestlers did reach the medal podium.
Seniors Brandon Buck (152) and Cody Bell (112) both placed second while freshman Zach Davis (103) and sophomore Craig Bower (125) placed sixth.
Neil had mixed emotions about how the four medallists performed. He was pleased they all earned medals but said all four should have won their final match, but did not.
"Cody looked really good until his final match," he said. "He showed some people in Kansas the caliber of wrestler he could be, but then he got sloppy in the final match."
Bell owned his opponent for the first half of his final match as he jumped out to a 7-1 lead after he scored a five point play with a reversal and three-point near fall.
Unfortunately for Bell, he did not score again but allowed 10 unanswered points and lost 11-7.
"I really don't know what happened," Bell said of his final match. "I needed to stay on my feet because that's where I score my points.
"It's disappointing, but the only way to learn is by losing."
In Buck's match, the only points scored in the regulation were on escapes from each wrestler. Neither was aggressive, waiting for the other to make a mistake.
"Brandon was not offensive in his final match," Neil said. "He let the match come to him."
At the end of three periods, the score was 1-1, and nobody could score a takedown in the first overtime.
In the second overtime, Buck started in the down position and could not escape in thirty seconds, so he lost the match.
"I am disappointed," Buck said. "I wish I would have taken more shots. I was waiting for him to shoot. I'll see him again (later in the year), and it'll be different."
Both Bell and Buck finished the tournament with a 3-1 record.
Davis finished 3-3, and Bower finished 2-3.
Bower got off to a promising start, with a pair of wins on Friday, but he lost all three matches on Saturday.
"Sixth is alright," Bower said. "I didn't win any matches on Saturday. When you go 0-3 in a day, it's pretty disappointing, but it's a hard tournament."
Neil hopes his team will improve as the Bobcats head back into dual competition Thursday, Jan. 23. Basehor-Linwood goes to Mill Valley to face league foes, Mill Valley and Santa Fe Trail.
The competition begins at 5:30 p.m.