Archive for Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Coach’s bold, aggressive scheduling helps Bobcats discover their identity

December 13, 2006

Sometimes, the best way to improve is by introducing adversity. But other times, it can sink a team.

When entering a six-team tournament with four 6A teams and a 5A squad, a team can learn quickly which way it will go.

That becomes especially true when that team was 6-15 in Class 4A a season ago.

For Basehor-Linwood High School coach Mike McBride, the decision had been made, and he was both excited and nervous for his kids to be exposed to the kind of top-notch competition it saw at last week's Emporia Tournament.

"It was a concern," McBride said. "I heard a lot of stuff going in; that we might be over our head."

Consider those questions answered for now, after Basehor-Linwood gave Olathe East all it could handle and knocked off Bellevue, Neb.

The ambitious scheduling of the preseason Emporia Tournament certainly gave McBride an opportunity to test his coaching skills.

After the agonizing, last-second loss to Olathe East, the Bobcats appeared unprepared for the athleticism and speed of Junction City.

McBride knew this could be a turning point in the young season. He watched his team take its lumps against Junction City, with a constant eye on improvement.

"I wasn't upset," McBride said. "I was sitting on bench reflecting on what we had to get done the rest of the year."

The postgame meeting after the loss on Friday gave McBride an opportunity to put the onus on his team.

"What do you guys want to be? What do you want to be identified as?" McBride asked. "Is this the team that is going to be the team that is going to turn things around here? What do you want? Who's going to be our leader?"

While the questions were rhetorical, they forced the players to reexamine their roles on the team and accept accountability.

When Olathe East bowed out of the fifth place game on Saturday, McBride looked forward to seeing how his team would respond against Bellevue, Neb.

After rallying from a first-half deficit, capped with a nearly flawless fourth quarter, McBride was satisfied that his questions had been answered.

"We figured it out on Saturday," he said.

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