Bobcats ‘miles ahead’ of last year
With several of last year's varsity players lost to graduation, there won't be many familiar faces on the court when the Basehor-Linwood boys basketball season begins. But there will be one important, familiar presence on the sideline. Basehor-Linwood High School coach Mike McBride returns for his second season after guiding the Bobcats to a 5-16 record, three wins better than the mark of the previous year.
Much of the Bobcats' chances for continued improvement this year will hinge on how well new players are able to step into varsity roles. With that in mind, it helps that McBride was finally able to have a full offseason as coach.
"The big thing was that we made sure we got the traveling in," McBride said. "We played four MAYB tournaments and everybody, especially at the varsity level showed up for them, which was nice. Now we have a lot more camaraderie, we seem to jell a little better. The big thing about this year is that I know what each kid can do."
McBride faces a challenging task this season, as just two players return with varsity experience. Jacob Schierbaum, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, will be counted on heavily in the post, while junior Austin Knipp will have to anchor one of the backcourt spots. Other players will have to emerge from the junior varsity and freshman ranks to fill the void left by last year's seniors. But, from what he's seen so far, McBride says they're ready.
"We're miles ahead from where we were this time last year and we're probably ahead of where we were even at the end of last year," McBride said. "We're understanding floor spacing, we're understanding where we're supposed to be on defense, we're learning very quickly and our ball handling's a lot better."
McBride said that the toughest thing to replace from last year's team would be size, as the Bobcats will field a much shorter roster this season. To compensate for that he's been working on more aggressive rebounding in practice.
Rebounding is a familiar theme for the boys basketball team, as it has found itself trying to recover from difficult seasons a lot lately. Two straight 2-19 seasons gave way to the beginning of McBride's coaching tenure at BLHS, which yielded a modest improvement in its first season. BLHS fans are hoping for the 5-16 mark to climb even higher this year, but McBride is focusing on a slightly more long-term goal.
"I really told my kids we've got to put ourselves in position to win a sub-state game," McBride said. "No matter what, win, lose or whatever, we've got to come into practice the next day and focus on our sub-state game."