Bobcats, Braves set for another showdown
It's a rivalry to some, a formality to others.
But no matter what the case, it's always exciting.
As the Bonner Springs and Basehor-Linwood basketball teams prepare to tip off the first chapter of the 2005 showdown, the two schools sit on different sides of the coin.
In both boys and girls hoops, Bonner Springs has owned the Bobcats in recent years, prompting Lady Bobcats coach Mardy Robinson to downplay the word rivalry.
"How can it be a rivalry when you never win?," asked Robinson, who has yet to defeat Bonner Springs in her BLHS career. "It will be a rivalry when we beat them, and I hope that's this year."
Working to Robinson's advantage is the fact that she boasts her most talented team - top to bottom - in her career at BLHS. However, while that squad is talented, a good chunk of it is young, and that's where Bonner Springs coach Garold Baker is hoping to capitalize.
Baker's no stranger to fielding a young squad. After all three of his five starters are underclassmen and most of his bench is inexperienced, as well.
It's likely this game will come down to whichever team handles the pressure better and executes its style of play. But no matter who wins or what the outcome is, Baker said he's looking forward to it.
"It's not such a huge deal to me because I'm not from here," he said. "I really do try to treat it just like another game. But I'd be lying if I said that was easy. The kids make it a rivalry for me, and that makes it fun. I know every time we play Basehor in every sport, you can just walk around the halls and hear kids talking about playing Basehor. It's really about bragging rights, and for the most part it's a great rivalry."
On the boys side of the rivalry, the Braves have been equally as dominant as their female counterparts; perhaps moreso. Records - both individual and team - have fallen when the Braves have faced the Bobcats, and the boys in the orange and black have taken extreme pride in not losing to Basehor-Linwood.
However, this year, the rivalry will welcome a new face, as new head Bobcat Mike McBride takes his first stab at the Braves. McBride came from a small town in Missouri, where the town rivalries were as fierce as they are anywhere. But he's trying not to get caught up in the Bonner-Basehor rivalry just yet.
"I don't know a whole lot about it," he said. "I've heard a little about it from the guys and I know they're excited and that it's fun to go play them and get after it, but I'm just really focusing on trying to get better and improving our basketball IQ.
To most people around the area, a huge portion of that IQ rides on the outcome of these games. Friday, the girls will tip off at 6 p.m. at the BLHS gymnasium and the boys will follow 30 minutes after the completion of the girls game.
For a complete wrap up of the games, and the stories behind the games, check next week's edition of the Sentinel.