BLHS boys team features different style
If one pattern emerged from Basehor-Linwood's season-opening 47-31 victory over Tonganoxie, the first look at the team since the graduation of perimeter scorers Austin Knipp and Matt Fanning, it was that this year's Bobcats will win games in a different fashion than last year's.
Last year's team could run and shoot. They played an active defense, which usually masked a general size disadvantage. They also used a small rotation.
With the loss of Knipp and Fanning, and with the emergence of several bit players from last year, the team's rotation will get bigger, according to coach Mike McBride. The Bobcats are also bigger, stronger, more physical, and if Friday is any indication, stronger defensively.
"Defensively, we might be better; bigger and stronger," McBride said when comparing this year's team to last. "Chemistry wise, last year, we knew who was going to start and pretty much everything. This summer was different because we had so many kids fighting for varsity spots. We need to figure out a way to replace points. Who is going to step up and hit the outside shot?"
Tanner Swafford thinks he might be able to fill that role. The power forward worked on his game over the summer and has expanded his game to the three-point line, where he won't be afraid to shoot this year.
"They were good 3-point shooters," Swafford said of Knipp and Fanning. "But Chandler Schaake has stepped up and over the summer I learned to hit some 3's."
Schaake scored 16 points in the opener; Swafford had 20.
McBride expressed an off-season interest of getting the ball inside with more frequency. It was only natural after losing two perimeter shooters and returning big men Swafford and Jacob Schierbaum.
Schierbaum didn't score in the season-opener. Swafford had 20, but has expanded his game to the perimeter and had nine points of those points from beyond the arc.
"We didn't get done what we wanted to in the first game," McBride said of the interior offense. "We addressed that on Saturday and had a good practice today. We need to remember Jacob Schierbaum had a fractured kneecap (suffered last year against Baldwin). So he hasn't played a lot of basketball--running or jumping. The biggest issue is getting in shape, because in practice at times he has looked good."
McBride said he was happy with Scott Ogilvie, who the coach said has played well and provided good defense. McBride said Ogilvie was "long and wiry" and would provide a new dimension on defense because he can stop athletic big men--an issue in the past for BLHS.
McBride said Alex Ziegler, Anthony Pierce and Tanner Bowers also played well on defense against Tongie.
"They are doing their jobs, but they need to make shots outside," McBride said.
The defensive improvement, while only judging one game, was drastic. BLHS held Tonganoxie to seven first-half points; 31 total. The Bobcats forced 23 turnovers.
In expanding his rotation, McBride said he wasn't worried about taking a couple losses to figure out what he has this year.
"I'm not worried about record; I'm not worried about rankings," McBride said.
If his team keeps playing stellar defense, and can at some point figure out how to replace the points from the perimeter, the record and rankings should take care of themselves.