Archive for Thursday, August 10, 2006

Lady Bobcats always had potential

August 10, 2006

The girls basketball program at Basehor-Linwood is one that has been loaded with potential during my days with the Sentinel.

On occasion, the girls have lived up to their high expectations and been one of the most exciting and successful programs the school has. At other times, they've fallen just short of clicking and haven't been able to put it all together with consistency.

For my first few seasons with the Bobcats, the passionate Mardy Robinson led the Lady Bobcats. Robinson was a die-hard basketball coach, who wore her emotions on her sleeve and wanted so desperately for the program to succeed.

After Robinson left, the school hired current coach Tami Holthus and she put her stamp on the program almost immediately. Holthus brought a team-first, fundamentally sound focus and has put the pieces in place for a strong program from top to bottom.

Both coaches have benefited from mentoring outstanding players and the following is a list of the best of the best who have put on the green and gold.

PG -- Alex Jeannin

Class of 2004

I would have paid good money to see Jeannin make it through one season without getting injured. After cracking the starting lineup as a freshman, Jeannin spent the next three seasons battling knee problems. Each time she thought she made it all the way back, another injury inevitably popped up. It's too bad, too. Even at 80 percent, Jeannin was a solid ballplayer. I can only imagine how good she would have been at 100 percent. Her biggest attribute was her basketball IQ. She was a smart player and she knew how to put her teammates in positions to be successful. She handled the ball well, was poised under pressure and always seemed to pick the right times to call her own number. Jeannin was just as good in an up-tempo game as she was in the halfcourt and she proved over and over that she could be a factor in any game.

SG -- Brooke Sanders

Class of 2008

Sanders is one of my favorite players of all time. I love the way she competes, I love the way she doesn't back down from anything and I love the way she carries herself on the court. She's a scrappy guard, who truly believes she can play with anyone and she has multiple skills that give her that ability. She's a good ball handler. She's a smart player. And she knows how to get the ball to the right teammates. As for her offensive ability, give her a hint of daylight and she'll make you pay from the outside with her sharp three-point shooting. Sanders is also tough on defense. She gets right up in your face and challenges you on every possession. She guards people the way she would hate to be guarded and that often leads to steals and easy buckets for the Lady Bobcats: all of this in just two years of varsity basketball. By the time it's all said and done, Sanders has a good shot to be called one of the program's best.

SF -- Michelle Chrisman

Class of 2008

Known primarily as a sensational outside shooter, Chrisman has improved her all-around skills as the seasons have gone on. She now plays tough, smart defense and has developed a pump fake that works like a dream. Still, opponents fear her for her ability to get hot from the outside. Like Sanders, Chrisman can rain in three-pointer after three-pointer if given the space. But her newfound ability to put the ball on the floor has made her even more dangerous, as she's now comfortable scoring with the jump shot or the drive. She has a quiet personality, but she probably prefers it that way. That encourages defenses to overlook her and opens the door for her to bomb away from under the radar.

PF -- Courtney Reed

Class of 2003

Reed was perhaps the most tenacious BLHS basketball player I have covered. Her favorite position on the floor was in the low post, where she took the ball and did whatever it took to put the ball in the basket. She had good post moves, she was smart and she had good size, as well. But her best attribute was her tenacity. Once she was in position to score, Reed simply would not be denied. She was equally as intense on defense, often finding herself in foul trouble after going at it with too much gusto. A knee injury midway through her senior season cut Reed's career short. But even after suffering the injury she attended every practice and sat on the bench for every game. She was the ultimate teammate and definitely someone you wanted on your side.

C -- Cassie Lombardino

Class of 2008

In two seasons of varsity basketball Lombardino was named to the all-Kaw Valley League postseason squad twice. It wasn't by accident. Lombardino is as good a post player as there is in the KVL, and she uses her size, smarts and athleticism to score, defend and disrupt effectively. In each season she has shown dramatic improvement in key areas such as intensity, aggression and strength. With two seasons remaining, she'll likely be a big-time factor in determining the KVL standings her junior and senior seasons.

Bench:

PG -- Emily Hoffman

Class of 2003

Hoffman was probably the most underrated player I saw. And part of that was her fault. She clearly had the skills to be a big-time player, but she lacked the confidence to do it full time. When she was on, she was tough to stop. She was a tireless worker on offense and did whatever it took to get an open look from behind the three-point line. On defense her height, long arms and quickness allowed her a mistake or two in man-to-man sets.

Throw in the fact that she overcame the odds to continue playing despite a serious heart condition, and you're talking about one brave player.

SG -- Samantha Paterson

Class of 2005

Paterson was one of the more exciting players to come through BLHS. She was a firecracker on the floor and at times that landed her a spot on the bench. But by the time she was a junior and senior she had fine-tuned her game and was a serious threat on both ends. Her active nature and size and quickness made her a tough defender and her fearless attack and athleticism made her a bona fide scorer on the other end.

SF -- Morgan Kenney

Class of 2005

Kenney only knew one way to play: hard. She was a hard worker, an incredible competitor and one heck of a teammate. She wasn't blessed with the best natural skills, but she more than made up for it by working her tail off in practice. By her senior season, Kenney became a serious threat in the paint, particularly on the offensive and defensive glass.

PF -- Tara Lucas

Class of 2003

Lucas was the perfect complement to Courtney Reed. The two played together with great confidence and familiarity and both were incredibly active in the paint. Lucas was one of the best post players the Bobcats have had. She got good position, gave her guards a good target and went to the basket strong. She was also an exceptional rebounder and a great teammate, who never lost sight of the fact that the game was fun.

C -- Katie Burchfield

Class of 2004

Burchfield was a fixture in the paint for the Lady Bobcats during her career. She had good offensive skills and flourished on the offensive glass and was a fierce defender, who stood up to anyone and competed every time out as if something big was on the line. She was a good scorer and she led the team in blocked shots for two seasons.

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