Setting the tone
BLHS basketball teams open season with early victories
Last season was almost half way over before the Basehor-Linwood High School boys basketball team won a game, something this year's team accomplished in the very first game it played. And when the only medicine to cure the losing bug is a win, a 69-29 victory over Pleasant Ridge tasted as good as a spoon full of sugar.
But much like the quickly-burned energy that sugar produces, the thrill of victory only lasts as long as you continue to win, a feat the Bobcats weren't able to duplicate in a 60-55 loss to last year's state semifinalist Immaculata.
"Our first win was a really important one," first-year Bobcats coach Mike McBride said. "It showed them that they were capable of winning...They learned they can compete."
Immaculata began the game with a relentless defense that troubled the Bobcat guards, giving the Raiders an early lead. But the Bobcats battled back to tie the game at ten heading into the second quarter.
Despite their efforts, and due largely to an affective Immaculata fast break, the Bobcats found themselves trailing by 12 at the half 23-35.
"They were sending a guy deep on us after every miss, and they got a lot of fast break lay-ups in the first half," McBride said. "If you let a high school player shoot a 95 percent shot, it's going to hurt you."
McBride began the second half by putting the ball in the hands of his best player, junior Jordan Fuqua. With room to operate Fuqua hit three straight buckets, which sparked new life into the trailing Bobcats.
"Fuqua can be as good as he wants to be," said McBride. "There's no telling the limit for him."
Fuqua finished as the leading scorer with 20, 16 of which came in the second half. Along with a 12-point performance from senior Seth Lashbrook, the Bobcats found themselves in a close ball game, outscoring the Raiders 19-7 in the third quarter and tying the ball game at 42.
Immaculata took an early three-point lead in the fourth and stayed in front for most of the game, though the Bobcats cut it to two a couple of times. Even with a timely three-point play by Fuqua, and a big bucket off the bench from freshman Jacob Schierbaum, Immaculata held on to win by five, handing the Bobcats their first loss of the season.
"I'm really proud of our team; we're really close to being ready to really compete," McBride said. "We just need to cut down on the turnovers and take away their easy buckets. Usually in a high school game, whoever scores the most lay ups wins the game, and they just got more."
The Bobcats will try and equal last year's win total this Friday as they head back to the friendly confines of their own gym to face Mill Valley.
Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m., following the girls game.