Bobcats rally but fall to Immaculata, 66-63
BLHS erases 15-point first half deficit, misses out on shot to tie in final seconds
With Basehor-Linwood trailing Immaculata 27-12 after one quarter, it appeared there would be little drama in Tuesday's boys basketball game.
In the end there was plenty of drama, but still no victory for the Bobcats.
Despite 24 points from Austin Knipp, the Bobcats fell, 66-63, after failing to get off a shot when down just three points on their second-to-last possession. Still, it said something about the team's heart, as it rallied from the early deficit to make a game of it.
The Bobcats allowed 44 first-half points as Immaculata opened the game with a barrage of three-pointers. Imac hit seven threes in the first half, forcing BLHS to play catch-up most of the way.
BLHS coach Mike McBride took most of the responsibility for the early defensive struggles.
"Once we started switching defenses up, I thought we took them out of their game quite a bit," McBride said. "I'm young too and I didn't know if we could do that (early in the game)."
Improved defense helped the Bobcats come back in the second half, but some of the emotion for the comeback was fueled by a big shot from James Bishop just before halftime. With 2.5 seconds on the clock, Bishop got the inbounds pass, took two dribbles and heaved one up from just past halfcourt. The ball whistled through the net cleanly, cutting the Imac lead to 44-34 and sending the crowd into a frenzy.
"That pumped us up, that showed that we could catch them," Knipp said.
Indeed, Knipp looked pumped up as the game went on. He shook off an early 1-for-6 shooting slump and went on to hit seven straight field goals at one point. He shot 11-20 for the game, went 3-4 from the free throw line, and chipped in 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
BLHS got strong play from other sources, including 7 points and 4 assists from Bishop and 10 points and 9 rebounds from Jacob Schierbaum, but it was clear that Knipp was the go-to guy down the stretch.
"He's got to get to the point where he knows he's the player," McBride said. "If he can settle into that, obviously we're going to be tough to stop, because everyone will be keying on him and we do have some good role players."
Two of those role players combined to give BLHS its only lead late in the third quarter. Garrett Chumley fired a pass inside to Chandler Schaake, who flipped it up and in with a nice reverse lay-up to put his team up 53-52. The Bobcats kept it close the rest of the way, but faltered down the stretch, as playing from behind for so long seemed to have taken its toll.
"In the last four minutes or so we had four turnovers, so we need to cut that back," Knipp said.
The game's heartbreaking outcome spoiled what would have been a stellar coming-out party for Schaake. Playing in front of the home crowd for the first time, the freshman scored 6 points on 3-4 shooting, dished out a team-high 5 assists and added 3 steals.
"He's going to be a tremendous player, no doubt about it," McBride said. "I had an all-state point guard in Missouri for three years and his freshman year, he played chaotic, kind of out of control. Chandler's so smooth and confident, which really surprises me. If he can continue to get better...that's going to be his challenge, not to just settle in."
The Imac loss dropped the Bobcats to 0-2 on the season, thanks to a season-opening loss on the road to Pleasant Ridge.
Next up, the Bobcats will welcome Mill Valley to town on Friday, Dec. 9 for a 7 p.m. tip off.
Mill Valley won its season-opener last Friday on the road against De Soto.