Bobcats extend winning streak to 3 games —ll away from home
For the second straight game the Bobcats survived a buzzer-beater to claim victory last Friday at Perry-Lecompton. In the game's last minute Tanner Swafford came up with a key block and Perry-Lecompton's Cory McPherson watched his last-chance three-pointer narrowly miss, as Basehor-Linwood hung on for a 50-48 win.
The victory gave the Bobcats their first winning streak of the season, and both wins were close games in hostile environments.
"You know, we're definitely feeling good about it, it's been awhile since that happened," BLHS senior Garrett Chumley said.
Basehor-Linwood was slow in getting started Friday, falling behind 6-0. Then, just two minutes into the game, Jacob Schierbaum picked up his second foul and went to the bench. The Bobcats were forced to go small, with 5-foot-11 Steven Bower entering for the 6-foot-6 Schierbaum.
In this case, the small lineup worked, as Bower's first order of business was hitting a three to get his team on the board. A few minutes later James Bishop came off the bench and hit a jumper off the dribble and consecutive threes, keying a 14-2 run that put BLHS up 14-8.
With the half winding down Schierbaum returned and fired a pass inside to Chandler Schaake for a layup. The freshman's bucket gave Basehor-Linwood it's biggest lead at 21-13 and caused a PLHS timeout. After the timeout the Kaws recovered and tied it at 21 on the opening possession of the second half. The game wouldn't be even again until just 30 seconds were left on the clock.
Austin Knipp broke the early tie with two layups, getting one after he and Schaake teamed up for a steal. With the Bobcats at a size disadvantage throughout much of the game, their backcourt pressure was key to the BLHS victory. Knipp finished with four steals and Schaake added three.
"As the game progressed, especially in the fourth quarter, obviously that was huge," BLHS coach Mike McBride said. "They're both quick, they slowed them down quite a bit. They've got young guards too, so we gave them some problems, but obviously the two of them work together really well."
The Bobcats kept the Kaws at bay for most of the second half and went into a stall to try and run out the clock with 2:20 left and the score 43-39. But a series of missed free throws, missed passes and missed rebounds kept giving the Kaws hope.
Knipp went to the line and made one of two to push the lead to five, but the Kaws immediately cut it to one possession. They missed their first shot but got a series of offensive rebounds and eventually one of them flipped the ball up over his head and in without looking at the hoop.
Schaake made two free throws with a minute left, but another PLHS offensive rebound and stick-back kept the lead at three. Rebounding had been a team effort for the Bobcats throughout the game. Swafford led the way with eight, Knipp had five and Chumley and Schaake finished with four apiece. Still, the Bobcats had trouble securing big rebounds at the end, especially against the Kaws' mammoth center Gabe Gantz, who had a game-high 15 points.
"Their size bothered us a little bit, but you know, their size was kind of slow and we should have been able to compensate for it," McBride said.
Initially it didn't look like BLHS would be hurt by the lack of rebounding, as Schaake calmly sank another pair of free throws to make the lead 48-43 with less than a minute left. But McPherson answered with the Kaws' only three-pointer of the game and the Bobcats seemed to tighten up with their lead cut to two.
Schaake threw the inbounds pass off the feet of Bower and Gantz got the ball in the post and was fouled attempting a hook shot. The big man canned both pressure-packed free throws, tying the game and sending the crowd into a frenzy.
The Bobcats committed another turnover on their next possession, setting up the Kaws for a possible game-winner. But Swafford came up huge on the defensive end, blocking Chris Katter's driving layup and tipping the ball to Chumley. The senior was fouled and went to the line with just 14 seconds and a chance to put his team ahead.
"You always see it on T.V., but you never think a game is going to come down to your free throws," Chumley said. "Walking down the court to go shoot, I was just telling myself that you can't really think about it, otherwise the pressure is going to get to you and you're going to choke."
Chumley sank the first one, to the dismay of the PLHS faithful. He missed the second, but Schaake swooped in and stole the ball from the Kaws' point guard. McBride frantically called timeout and BLHS inbounded the ball to Bishop, who was fouled with five seconds left. The senior made the first, but missed the second.
McPherson got the rebound and flew down the court, stopping at the top of the key and launching a buzzer-beater. There was one silent, tense moment as the ball flew through the air, looking right on target. But it clanged off the front of the rim, just short, and the Bobcats exhaled.
The Bobcats made it three road victories in a row on Tuesday, beating a quality Bishop Ward squad 74-68. The offensive explosion was keyed by Chumley, who had 19 points.