Archive for Thursday, February 23, 2006

Opinion: Tough losses teach lessons

February 23, 2006

Immediately after the Lady Bobcats 45-42 loss at Bonner Springs all I could do was look down at my notebook in shock.

Once the shock wore off I felt an ache in my stomach, like I'd been punched in the gut.

The Lady 'Cats had played so well for so long and it just didn't seem fair that they should lose. But, as we all know, life isn't fair, and sometimes things happen that we never see coming, especially in sports.

In this case the unexpected adversity was Basehor-Linwood's 16-point fourth-quarter lead crumbling under a hail of Kelsey Stanbrough three-pointers. And, perhaps more shockingly, the Lady Bobcats being held scoreless in that disastrous quarter.

But the way that game ended shouldn't overshadow all the good things that happened during the game's first 24 minutes.

First and foremost, is the fact that BLHS played three very solid quarters.

The Lady Bobcats went into a hostile environment, ran their offensive sets, played solid defense and generally had the Bravettes frustrated for the better part of the first three quarters. Before they got outscored 19-0 in the fourth quarter, they ended the third on a 16-0 run.

While the lasting memory from that game will probably be Stanbrough drilling threes, it shouldn't be forgotten that Brooke Sanders and Michelle Chrisman put on a shooting display of their own.

Both of them hit three triples and Sanders added eight rebounds, a notable feat for a guard.

Megan O'Bryan came off the bench and missed just one shot on her way to nine points and five rebounds.

Still, all that is likely to be lost in the long term. But the good thing about the long term is that losses often teach us more than wins. And, in the case of Friday's game, there were plenty of lessons.

Lesson No. 1 was that a 16-point lead is never safe when there's an entire quarter left to play. The Lady 'Cats were probably feeling pretty good about themselves going into the fourth and it's hard to blame them. It's human nature to let up a little when everything seems to be going your way.

Lesson No. 2 was that you have to keep playing your game no matter what the other team is doing. Stanbrough absolutely caught fire Friday night and it seemed to rattle BLHS a bit. That happens sometimes; most teams have at least one player who is capable of lighting it up, and when they start feeling it, it can be darn near impossible to defend them.

The best way to counteract that, if you have a lead, is to just stay patient in your own offense, run some clock and get a few easy scores. Forget about stopping Stanbrough. If the Bobcats had gotten just two buckets themselves in that fourth quarter, all of her three-pointers would have come to nothing.

Thanks in part to Tuesday's game at Piper, the emotional gut-punch of Friday's loss has passed. But hopefully the lessons of that game will linger.

And, as much as it hurts, the Lady 'Cats should remember how they felt when the final buzzer sounded. Take that feeling and store it away. Save it up and let it simmer.

Then, next time they meet the Bravettes, unleash it.

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