Lady ‘Cats crack championship
The Basehor-Linwood girls basketball season got off to a belated start Monday.
The team had several practices, as well as their season opener last Friday, canceled because of bad weather.
It was a fair question to wonder whether the Lady Bobcats would be prepared as they took the floor to open play at the Iola Tournament on Monday evening. Consider that question answered.
Basehor-Linwood thrashed Pittsburgh in the tournament's opener, winning 43-20. The stifling defensive performance was backed by point guard Brooke Sanders' 10 points. Center Cassie Lombardino and forward Bren Koontz each chipped in with seven.
Tuesday evening's matchup paired the Lady' Cats with Girard, a team known for its defensive pressure. Basehor-Linwood took care of the ball and won 43-34.
"Our guard play was excellent against pressure," coach Tami Holthus said. The team committed 14 turnovers; a relative pittance against pressure defense.
"I am pleased with the way that everyone contributed," Holthus said. "That is a game that we had to bare down from a mental toughness standpoint."
Cassie Lombardino was the star of the night, netting 20 of the team's 43 points. Holthus was pleased with the team's play in the post.
"Girard makes their living on the offensive glass," she said. "The reason we won was our rebounding. They were a little bit bigger than we are. We did a good job of keeping them off the glass."
By unofficial count, Girard was held to three offensive rebounds.
The two victories propelled the Lady Bobcats into the tournament's championship game. The title contest will be played at 6 p.m. Friday evening in Iola and the Lady 'Cats will take on Parsons.
Iola, the tournament's host and the state's defending Class 4A girls basketball champions, was stunned by Parsons in the second round.
Friday's game will provide an opportunity to cap the perfect beginning to the season.
It's a remarkable achievement for a team coming off a 10-11 season, the first under Holthus, who couldn't be happier with her team's progress.
"We wanted to play last week, but the girls did a great job of adjusting," Holthus said. "I am proud of their focus."
Despite the hot start, Holthus, like any good coach, is keeping her focus on the team's long-term success.
"As a total program, we have come a long way," she said. "I am so proud of our kids and the parents and families as well. They are understanding what it will take to build a championship level program."