Opinion: Lady ‘Cats pass test
The Lady Bobcats faced a stern test of their heart last Friday and passed.
After starting the season 0-10, the Lady Bobcats caught a break in the seventh-place game of their own tournament when they faced an Atchison team that had struggled equally and looked beatable. Neither team wanted to leave the floor still winless.
Basehor looked confident and loose during warm-ups, but once the game started, things tightened up.
Atchison easily built a 9-3 lead, and suddenly the game looked ominously like some of the less memorable contests from earlier in the year.
It was an important point in the game and, depending on how the rest of the year plays out, an important point in the season.
The Lady 'Cats needed someone to step up, and they got it.
Samantha Paterson, Kristal Holland and Tiffany Waxmonski came off the bench and provided a spark that led to an 8-2 Basehor run.
Holland had two field goals in the run and Paterson finished it by taking a pass from Alex Jeannin and hitting a short jumper at the end of the quarter. The basket tied the score and gave the 'Cats all the momentum on their way to a 48-33 victory.
The key to Basehor getting its first victory wasn't the steady all-around play of Jeannin, or even the emergence of Katie Burchfield, who scored in double figures for the second straight game. It was the young Bobcats coming in and playing with a confidence that they gained while Jeannin was out.
Jeannin's knee injury was crippling to the team, but it forced all the younger players to step in and play a bigger role. In the first few games, before the injury, the team seemed to rely on Jeannin too much.
If no one got a shot early in the offense, they'd simply kick it out to her and expect her to create something.
During Jeannin's absence, other players began to step in, getting more minutes and touches on the ball.
Paterson and Waxmonski both took their turns at point guard, and Holland began to distinguish herself as the team's most reliable rebounder. The team was going through some growing pains, but it was growing nonetheless.
Now, with Jeannin back, the pieces are starting to fall into place. Paterson and Waxmonski both look comfortable handling the ball, making the Bobcats that much harder to pressure full-court and making their running game that much more potent.
Holland has provided a strong rebounding presence, shoring up a weakness that has cost Basehor a lot of second-chance points this season.
Granted, Atchison wasn't one of the stronger teams Basehor will face this season, but after their poor early stretch, it was almost incredible how completely the Bobcats dominated the game.
They won by 15, and it never should have been that close. The team shot a season-high 33 free throws and made just 12. If they had shot well from the line the Bobcats would have won by at least 25.
It's not a stretch to think that the Lady 'Cats can win a lot more games if they continue to play like that.
The growing confidence of young players like Paterson, Waxmonski and Holland means the future is bright for Basehor, not only in the second half of this season, but also next year.