Foul trouble hits Bobcats hard in loss to Lansing
The starting lineup for Lansing High School's boys basketball team is loaded with football stars, so once Friday's game between LHS and Basehor-Linwood started to look like a football game, the Bobcats were in trouble.
Especially since the Lions had pretty good touch from the free throw line, for football players.
After 32 minutes and 38 total fouls, the Lions left BLHS with a 63-48 victory. Neither team was very deep and foul trouble hit both, but the Bobcats were hit the hardest. The tallest players in the rotation, Jacob Schierbaum and Garrett Chumley, both got foul No. 4 early in the second half.
"Once we get our big guys in foul trouble against a team like that, you know we're not going to be able to do much inside," BLHS coach Mike McBride said. "We didn't move the ball around early very well, we didn't get any inside shots. They're big and physical, they're going to push you out, but we've got to keep moving and try to find a way to get a layup."
Lansing was the first league opponent the Bobcats had faced in two weeks, since getting their first victory at Tonganoxie. The team was eager to start a winning streak in the league, but Lansing made it difficult from the outset. The Lions' wide-bodied starters bulled their way to a 20-2 lead behind 14 points in the paint and a couple free throws. The Bobcats would regroup and make a run at them, but never fully recover from the early blitz.
"I thought we were ready to play, but it was almost like we wanted to beat them so bad it worked against us," McBride said. "They hit a couple layups and we fouled a couple times and that kind of shell- shocked us."
Tanner Swafford was right in the middle of several key plays during a second quarter comeback. He dropped in a layup on one end, then stole the ball on the other and took it coast-to-coast. His shot missed, but Chandler Schaake rebounded it and kicked it out to Chumley, who made a jumper and was fouled. Chumley's free throw made the score 31-22, cutting the lead to single digits for the first time since 10-2. The next time down Swafford fed Austin Knipp for a three and the Bobcats were within two possessions.
Those were just a few highlights in a game full of them for Swafford. The sophomore finished with 16 points on 6-7 shooting from the floor and 3-4 from the free throw line.
"He was using his athleticism, he was getting to the basket and he wasn't playing scared," McBride said. "He's going to be a heck of a player. In the future, if we need two points I think he's going to be a guy who can get it because he's so athletic along the baseline and he can do some things that a lot of people can't do."
Swafford helped the Bobcats get back in it against Lansing and they started the second half down just eight. But within two-and-a-half minutes Schierbaum had to sit with four fouls and two minutes later Chumley joined him.
With the big guys out, the Lions kept pressing inside. Rather than shying away from contact, they seemed to invite it, driving into crowds of defenders and pounding the boards.
On five separate occasions the Lions were able to muscle in shots despite being fouled. They looked good on their free throws, generally cashing in on three-point plays. Lansing's Chris Wagner made 12 free throws all by himself.
The Bobcats, on the other hand, drew a lot of fouls but didn't seem to get the same opportunities.
In the fourth quarter Matt Fanning was fouled and made a highlight-reel reverse layup. But just as the crowd began to cheer the referees waved off the basket, saying the foul occurred before the shot. Rather than getting a chance at a three-point play, BLHS had to inbound the ball and came up empty. Getting a few more trips to the line might have changed the game, as the Bobcats shot a solid 15-for-19 (79 percent) for the game.
As it was, the Lions kept pulling away, and by the time Schierbaum and Chumley could get back in, it was too late.