No nail-biting in Lady Bobcats latest win
The Basehor-Linwood girls basketball team needed a game like this to avoid getting a nickname like "Cardiac 'Cats" or "Close-Call 'Cats." After playing five straight games decided by three points or less, the Lady Bobcats beat Immaculata 45-36 at home Tuesday. They dismantled the Lady Raiders with a 16-4 third quarter that allowed their fans to watch the last few minutes without any nail-biting.
On the opening possession, Cassie Lombardino took a pass from Brooke Sanders and made a layup. It was a sign of things to come, as Lombardino would have an absolutely dominant game. The sophomore had a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 10-14 from the floor. She was a force on the defensive end, as well, with four blocks and four steals. All that despite the fact that Immaculata tried to double-team her on most of her inside touches.
"She did an excellent job tonight with her shot selection," BLHS coach Tami Holthus said. "Our perimeter people did a good job of getting her the ball, and if the shot wasn't there she did a good job of kicking it out and re-posting."
In the second quarter the Lady Raiders went to a 2-3 zone to collapse on Lombardino, but Michelle Chrisman instantly made them pay by nailing a three-pointer. She finished the quarter with another three that tied the game at 19.
The Lady Bobcats spent most of the first half playing the smothering fullcourt press that is quickly becoming one of their most feared weapons. They forced nine first-half turnovers, but nullified most of that advantage by turning it over seven times themselves. In the second half, though, Basehor-Linwood took much better care of the ball, while the Lady Raiders continued to wilt under the pressure.
Immaculata scored the first bucket of the third quarter to go up 21-19, but it was the last lead they'd have. Chrisman snatched it back for BLHS with her third three. Then Lombardino made two short jumpers in a row and Brooke Sanders hit a three and the Lady 'Cats were up 29-21.
The Lady Raiders were obviously frustrated and it showed. In a scary moment, Basehor-Linwood's Breanna Beebe took a wicked, Karl Malone-esque elbow in the face and lay on the floor for a few minutes, in obvious pain. She had to be helped to the bench and didn't return to the game.
"A few girls were upset by it," Sanders said. "We wanted to beat them anyway, but it made us a little more motivated."
The Lady Bobcats went on an 8-2 run after Beebe's injury, going up 37-23 and putting Immaculata in panic mode. Then, in the fourth quarter, they slammed the door with an impressive show of fullcourt defense.
After freshman Bren Koontz drove for a layup, Sanders darted in, snatched the inbounds pass and put it back in. Before the Lady Raiders could get past halfcourt, Koontz snared a pass and was fouled.
Immaculata called a desperation timeout, but too much damage was already done. BLHS led 43-29 with just 3:21 remaining.
The crafty steal and lay-in were the culmination of a great night at both ends for Sanders, who led the team with eight assists and five steals. She said she had learned a few things from her team's two-point victory over Imac the week before.
"Penetration and kicking it out on offense," Sanders said, "And defensively we did a lot better in our 'Bobcat' or man-to-man defense."
The Lady Raiders made a few baskets in the last minute and were able to make the game look tighter than it was because the Bobcats missed free throws. The charity stripe was the one area that was unkind to the Lady 'Cats Tuesday, as they made just 3 of 12.
"We're working on it, the kids are trying to gain more confidence on those, but the best way to do that is to make them," Holthus said. "We're still struggling, it could have come back and bit us several times and it's something we need to continue to work on."
Fortunately for the Lady Bobcats, and for their fans' heart rates, they had run up a big enough lead Tuesday that they could afford a few misses from the line.
Basehor-Linwood's next game is this Friday at Perry-Lecompton.