Archive for Thursday, November 30, 2006

Opinion: Marquee matchup

November 30, 2006

Forget KU-Florida.

When the college basketball schedules came out and the Kansas fans in the area saw their beloved Jayhawks were going to face the defending national champions in Las Vegas, dreams of a titanic clash between the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the nation dominated local basketball conversations.

But the game, which lost some of its luster thanks an inexplicable loss to Oral Roberts, came and went and it's time to move on.

OK, so the game was amazing and it was one of the best regular season college basketball games I've seen in years, but luckily, right here in Basehor, there's another huge game on the horizon.

Later this week, when the Basehor-Linwood High School basketball teams tip off one of their most promising seasons since the late 1990s, all eyes will be on the Lady Bobcats' season-opening trip to Tonganoxie.

It's a daunting place to open a season, no matter what the situation.

The Tonganoxie girls have been one of the toughest teams to beat in the entire state during the past few seasons, and with virtually everyone back from last year's team combined with the leadership of a hungry group of seniors, the Lady Chieftains will once again be the team to beat in the Kaw Valley League and a serious threat to make a run at state.

That's only part of what makes Friday's contest so intriguing.

Last week, when the preseason state basketball rankings were released, the Tonganoxie girls found themselves sitting at No. 2 in Class 4A.

But just two spots behind them, at No. 4, were the girls from Basehor-Linwood, a team that returns a ton of talent and a group of juniors eager to turn the corner on their incredible potential.

It's difficult to call the opening game of the season a team's most important, but it might end up being exactly that.

The Lady Bobcats have their eyes on a league championship this season, and in order to get it, they'll have to beat Tonganoxie at some point.

Win or lose, it's incredibly important for Basehor-Linwood to play well on Friday night. Very few people are expecting the Lady 'Cats to waltz into Tonganoxie's gym and walk away with a victory. So if BLHS chalks one up in the win column, it simply would be icing on the cake.

No matter what happens, the way the Lady Bobcats play on Friday, in what will undoubtedly be one of their toughest tests of the season, might set the tone for the rest of the year.

The same could be said for the BLHS boys, who also have high hopes for the 2006-2007 season.

The Bobcats have fallen on hard times in the past few years, but this year's team is the most talented and most experienced squad Mike McBride has had since his arrival in Basehor.

The players know it, the fans know it, and Friday, the Bobcats are hoping to let the rest of the KVL in on their little secret.

It's go time. The high-tops are laced up, the balls are bouncing and the area's gymnasiums soon will be packed every Tuesday and Friday night.

No. 2 vs. No. 4 in the season opener: Like I said, forget KU-Florida.

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