Second-half comeback propels Bobcats past Imac
After losing to Lansing last Friday, the last thing Basehor-Linwood boys basketball coach Mike McBride said before entering the locker room was, "We'll get us one Tuesday." It was a bold statement for a coach whose team had won just two games all year, but the Bobcats backed him up.
After trailing by nine at halftime the Bobcats roared back and led by as much as eight before hanging on for a thrilling 57-56 victory at Immaculata. Austin Knipp led the way with 20 points, but his biggest contribution might have been on the defensive end, where he keyed two big stops in the last minute after failing to ice the game at the free throw line.
At halftime it looked as though Knipp and the Bobcats wouldn't even get the chance to ice the game, as they trailed 33-24. McBride knew his players were capable of more and told them so at halftime.
"I told them we need to show some enthusiasm, get out of this funk we're in and get on the same page, play as a team," McBride said. "Just give me a half of that and let's see what happens."
Then McBride dropped the bomb by providing the kind of motivation that almost any athlete will respond to: the threat of more running.
"We were acting tired in the first half and I just said, 'either we're not conditioning enough and we need to start on Saturday running or you guys are trying to fool me, so let's see what this is all about,'" McBride said.
Whether it was team pride or the fear of extra sprints, something lit a fire under the Bobcats. They came out of the half on a big run and took their first lead at 39-37. The game was tied at 43 at the end of the third quarter.
The Bobcats opened the fourth quarter on another run. James Bishop and Chandler Schaake hit big three-pointers and Jacob Schierbaum began to really work inside. The sophomore big man finished with 12 points and pounded the boards.
"I guarantee he had three or four offensive rebounds and he probably had seven or eight rebounds in the second half alone," McBride said.
Behind the big shots from Schaake and Bishop and Schierbaum's work inside, the Bobcats took an eight-point lead with four minutes left. Then, as young teams tend to do, they relaxed a bit. Immaculata took advantage, cutting the lead to four with one minute remaining.
Then, with 40 seconds left, things got even tighter. An Imac player drilled a three from four feet past the line, despite solid defense from Garrett Chumley. The cold-blooded triple cut the Bobcats' lead to 57-56 and piled on the pressure.
Knipp was fouled on the other end, but missed the front end of the one-and-one. He would make up for it on the defensive end. Guarding the Raiders' point guard, he denied the ball and forced it into the hands of a less-capable ball-handler. That player traveled with it, costing Imac a huge opportunity to take the lead.
Knipp was fouled with six seconds left and again missed the front end, but compensated with defense. He intercepted a pass on the sideline, running off key seconds before getting caught with a toe out of bounds. That left just 1.5 seconds for the Raiders.
They inbounded the ball and got off a shot just over the outstretched arm of Schierbaum. It fell short and the Bobcats had their third win of the season.
The Bobcats' next game is Friday at Perry-Lecompton.
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