Archive for Thursday, March 16, 2006

Opinion: Winter sports memories

March 16, 2006

With the spring sports season set to begin, I thought I'd take a few moments to look back on the season that was.

From the hardwood to the hardware, the winter sports season at Basehor-Linwood High School was more memorable than most might think.

Here's a look:

Wrestling

There's lots to remember here, especially from the senior class. Zach Davis and Dustin Sullivan were often great and sometimes dominant.

Dustin Weimer made a spirited run to state and Will Peterson, well, once you've seen him pick an opponent up three feet into the air and then slam him back to the mat, you won't soon forget it.

But the most lasting memory from this season should be Brandon Magaha wrestling with a dislocated shoulder. Magaha convinced coach Scott Neil and his parents to let him give it a go on Senior Night, his last chance to wrestle in front of the home crowd.

Halfway through his first match Magaha found himself on his stomach, with his opponent yanking back on his injured shoulder, trying to turn him over. You could almost hear his shoulder ripping, but the Bobcat senior refused to yield.

Incredibly he stuck it out and even got up off the mat just before the period ended.

In a scene straight out of "Rocky," a battered and hurting Magaha told Neil that he wanted to continue. But Neil decided that discretion was the better part of valor and forfeited the match. Still, it was a rare display of courage and determination by Magaha.

Boys basketball

The boys had their first three-game winning streak at home and improved on last year's win total. Their most impressive victory was probably at Bishop Ward, but their most dominant performance was surely at home versus Holton.

All eight Bobcats who suited up scored at least three points on their way to a 56-35 beatdown of the Wildcats. It was easily the most lopsided victory of Mike McBride's tenure.

Austin Knipp poured in 20 points and also broke out of an 0-15 slump from beyond the arc in dramatic fashion. Knipp dropped in a three from the corner and was fouled. He leaped up off the floor and pumped his fist, as if a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

Girls basketball

Again, there were a lot of highlights here. There was a four-game winning streak, a victory over Holton, which finished 19-1, and four games when Michelle Chrisman or Brooke Sanders hit five three-pointers.

But, for my money, the best memory to take from this season was the 44-42 victory over Park Hill. Cassie Lombardino had 21 points and eight rebounds and the Lady Bobcats earned a spot in the championship game of their home tournament.

The most memorable thing about that game, though, was how the crowd got behind the team.

A raucous student section, led primarily by members of the boys basketball team, stomped, chanted and gave the Bobcats a real home court advantage.

The game was played at a furious pace and both teams were exhausted by the fourth quarter, but the crowd's encouragement gave the Lady 'Cats the second wind they needed.

If the crowd was like that every game, BLHS would become a very tough place to play.

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