Archive for Thursday, March 11, 2004

Hoops search has direction

March 11, 2004

Joe Keeler made a big addition to the BLHS athletics family this week, but has little time to relax before starting another coaching search.

Keeler, the BLHS athletics director, secured former Odessa High School football coach Steve Hopkins to be Basehor's head coach next year, and will soon start looking for a replacement for boys basketball coach Bruce Courtney, who resigned at the end of this season.

"We haven't officially opened the position yet," Keeler said. "We're looking at starting that process after spring break."

The basketball season ended last Tuesday with a sub-state loss to Piper. The Bobcats finished with just two victories, but came on strong late in the year, playing competitive games against a number of top-tier opponents.

Keeler said although the season just ended, there was a sense of urgency about filling the position.

"Obviously we're going to look hard to find the best person for the program, yet we realize it's critical to get a new coach in soon to get the boys ready for off-season conditioning," Keeler said.

The new coach will have the tough task of replacing seven seniors from this year's squad, all of whom made significant contributions. But, thanks to Courtney's 11-man rotation, the new coach will also have a core of talented, experienced juniors returning.

Mike Armstrong, Seth Lashbrook, Nick Box and Joel Vandervelde should form a nucleus for the team to build on.

Armstrong, a guard, is one of the school's premier athletes and came into his own late in the season. His passing and scoring improved dramatically and was a huge key to the team's late-season surge. In addition, his relentless on-ball defense kept opposing guards far out towards half-court, forcing teams out of their offensive flow.

Lashbrook came off the bench most of the year, but was the team's most feared three-point threat. His high-arcing shot was inconsistent at times, but always dangerous. Lashbrook's long arms and quickness led to a number of steals, and his ability to finish with the left-hand helped him convert those steals into lay-ups.

Box was a spot starter in the Bobcats deep frontcourt. The junior's tenacity and hustle made him the team's top post defender. At 6-foot-3 he provides shutdown defense and enough athleticism to finish around the hoop.

Vandervelde has the potential to be one of the league's top scorers next year. The 6-foot-6 Vandervelde showed soft touch around the basket and shooting range that extended comfortably to 15-feet. His 12 points and 8 rebounds were key to Basehor's victory against Holton in the Bobcats' final home game this year.

The rest of the team remains largely a question mark, but with Armstrong, Lashbrook, Box and Vandervelde, the new coach will have plenty to build on.

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