Ready to run
Basehor-Linwood girls more prepared for new fastbreak offense
Things didn't turn out the way Mardy Robinson wanted them to last season.
But the Basehor-Linwood High School girls basketball coach is sticking by her run-and-gun strategy, hoping that this year's Lady Bobcats will fly past their opponents, rather than the other way around.
The fast break was put in place last year to take advantage of senior point guard Alex Jeannin's ability to run the floor and distribute the ball.
But three games into the season, Jeannin suffered a knee injury that hampered her for the whole season and brought the running game to a screeching halt.
Basehor will be without Jeannin again this year, but Robinson said this year's team is poised to run without her.
"I think we've got a better mix of girls to do that with this year," Robinson said. "Kids who are used to running the fast break and just know exactly what to do."
One of the players who knows how to run is sophomore Tiffany Waxmonski.
The slim, quick guard took over for Jeannin and shined as a freshman last season before being sidelined with her own knee injury, an ACL tear like Jeannin's, late in the season.
Waxmonski will wear a brace this season, but it's not expected to slow her down.
"The doctors have released her to go full speed," Robinson said. "There's a little bit of strength that she needs to gain in that leg, but she's doing really well."
The Lady Bobcats will rely heavily on Waxmonski in the backcourt and another sophomore, Brianna Beebe, in the paint. At 5-foot-11 Beebe is one of the conference's tallest players and showed flashes of dominance late last season.
Robinson said a third sophomore, Shae Sawalich, might emerge as a surprisingly strong contributor this year. Sawalich worked out all summer, and Robinson said she expects her to shine on defense against opposing guards.
Basehor-Linwood will have a number of freshman on the varsity roster this season, because only two juniors and two seniors came out for the team.
Fortunately, the two senior captains, Samantha Paterson and Morgan Kenney, form an athletic, experienced duo to lead the team.
Kenney, a hustling forward with good touch in the paint, led the team in rebounding in many games last year and emerged as the team leader while Jeannin was out.
Paterson is the rare type of athlete who is tall enough to play forward but fast enough to play guard. She showed great potential last season and could be the team's best all-around player.
"They're the captains and they're really going to be counted on to lead the team," Robinson said. "Morgan's the only player we have with a lot of varsity starting experience. She's going to have to be a floor leader out there for us and really exert her presence."
With such a young team, it promises to be another challenging year for Robinson, especially if injuries pop up again.
But if the Bobcats are scrappy on defense and run for enough easy baskets in the fast break, they could be a surprise.
The team's first game is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 2 at Pembroke Hill.
Tip off is set for 7 p.m.