One bad minute buries BLHS
For the first 15 minutes of the game last Friday, the Basehor-Linwood boys basketball team could seriously entertain thoughts of upsetting their rivals from Bonner Springs.
For nearly the entire first half the Bobcats were right there, competing almost evenly with the defending Kaw Valley League champion Braves. But all that changed in the final minute of the half.
The Braves finished the half on an 8-0 run that ballooned their lead from 18-12 to 26-12 and spelled disaster for the Bobcats. The Bobcats ended the game on the losing end of a 35-58 score, never recovering from that one rough minute.
"It was very key, that's obviously what we talked about at halftime," BLHS coach Mike McBride said. "You work so hard to get yourself to a point and we couldn't find a way to score. Then them coming down the floor and hitting a few threes just kind of put us in a hole that I'm not sure we really felt good about going into halftime and it definitely affected the rest of the game."
The Braves' key run came after Austin Knipp cut their lead to six in the second quarter. The Basehor-Linwood junior missed a three from the corner, but was fouled and converted all three free throws. The play was a microcosm of the entire game for Knipp, the squad's leading scorer. He had trouble finding the range on his outside shot but made up for it by getting to the line and making 6 of 8 attempts. He finished with a team-high 12 points and 3 steals.
But after Knipp's three-point play, the rest of the half was all Braves. Bonner Springs guard Jeff Hills started the run by making a tough floater in the lane. On the Braves' next possession they faced staunch and scrappy defense from Basehor-Linwood, but a missed shot and a scramble for the rebound led to an open three on a broken play. A few seconds later the Braves stole the ball and Hills banked in a three from the top of the key just before the buzzer signaled the end of the half.
The Bobcats might have been able to weather the eight-point storm, but nothing was coming easily for them offensively. They got a lot of looks inside, especially early on, but had trouble converting them. Bonner Springs' gargantuan forward Nick White blocked some shots and his mere presence inside seemed to alter others. The Bobcats got White and center Isaac Garlington in early foul trouble, but the Braves just kept trotting out more and more wide bodies off the bench to bang inside.
"We were maybe a little intimidated, I think that's why I was frustrated at halftime," McBride said. "I felt like we were intimidated and really didn't have a reason to be intimidated. They wore us down some, that was part of it too."
One Bobcat who didn't seem the least bit intimidated was senior Garrett Chumley. He had his most active game inside, pulling down seven rebounds. He also scored seven points and the only thing that kept him from his second straight game in double figures was a difficult 1-6 night from the free throw line. The senior made a highlight-reel hustle play in the second half when he chased down a ball going out of bounds and flipped it over his head to Knipp for a layup.
"He's doing great, he's gotten better every game," McBride said of Chumley.
McBride got solid play from two of his younger players as well, as Chandler Schaake and Jacob Schierbaum showed defensive savvy beyond their years. Schaake, a freshman, had four steals and Schierbaum, a sophomore, had three blocks.
Still, it was not enough for the Bobcats, who fell to 0-6. They'll have to wait until Friday to try and get their first win, when they face Tonganoxie. That game is set up for what should be a heated battle between two teams desperate to crack the victory column.
"Obviously it is a game that we can win and we can break the streak," McBride said. "They're in the same boat we are, so it should be an interesting game from that standpoint."