BLHS basketball team captures title
The Basehor-Linwood girls' basketball team's tournament championship victory over St. James Academy didn't exactly feel like it was the biggest game played last week.
The Bobcats had already beaten one of Kansas City's best basketball players in the tournament. On top of that, the championship game had a strange feel to it.
The venue of the girls basketball game had changed from Central Heights High School to St. James Academy. The decision to play at St. James Academy was made because both teams said they could get to the school easier than driving to Richmond, Kan., south of Ottawa, where Central Heights is located.
The weather outside lessened what might have been a bigger crowd and switched the tip time to 3 p.m.
Basehor-Linwood won 45-25, but didn't play especially well, Cassie Lombardino said.
"Probably the circumstances, how it was played, and everything put together," Lombardino said. "It didn't feel like a championship game."
The trophy wasn't given after the game because it was at Central Heights. It will likely be presented before Friday's game against Mill Valley High School.
Basehor-Linwood controlled the pace of the game with a physical man-to-man defense.
The Central Heights tournament was an instance when tournament's best game occurred in first round.
Basehor-Linwood played Kansas City Metro Academy in the first round of the tournament.
Metro Academy is a top young program. One of the team's alumni Shalin Spani is a freshman playing at Kansas State University.
The team is coached by Spani's father, former Kansas City Chiefs football player Gary Spani. His daughter Taber plays on the team.
She is a 6-1 junior guard for Metro Academy. She is being recruited by Kansas State, Connecticut and Tennessee.
She led the team to wins over Bishop Miege High School, a top area team earlier this season, but couldn't overcome Lombardino and the Basehor-Linwood attack.
Lombardino scored 20 points in the team's 51-47 victory over KC Metro Academy.
"We face guarded her," Lombardino said. "We put one person on her and played a zone look, that helped us," she said. "She will shoot even with someone on her. I think our style of defense worked against them."
Basehor-Linwood led throughout the game.
They didn't make a ton of foul shots in the fourth quarter, but managed to hang on and win the game.
In the second round of the tournament, Basehor-Linwood defeated Central Heights.
Basehor is ranked No. 4 in the Kansas Coaches Association girls basketball poll for Class 4A.