Lady Bobcats remain hungry during two-week winter break
Basehor-Linwood girls hoping to build on hot start
When the Basehor-Linwood girls basketball team takes the court this Friday against Perry-Lecompton, it will have been three weeks since the team last played an organized game. After a 4-1 start, the anticipation of a return to the hardwood is palatable.
"I think the kids have done a great job," coach Tami Holthus said.
The Lady Bobcats have not rested on their laurels over the prolonged break. They took a state-mandated weeklong respite before continuing practice last week.
"There are certain things that we know that we need to do to become a championship level program," Tami Holthus said.
The team has emphasized taking care of the ball, especially against the full court press.
"We're learning to handle pressure more," center Cassie Lombardino said. "We can slow ourselves down offensively."
Holthus added; "We are getting much tougher with the ball. We have emphasized being strong and tough-minded with the ball. All 10 players have done a better job with that. We are getting much better possessions on the offensive end. Overall we aren't turning the ball over as much as in the past. I am pleased with that."
During the first five games, the offense had at times stagnated when the ball was not being fed into the interior. Holthus has preached the importance of evenly distributing the ball on each possession.
"We have been working on getting more post touches over the break," Lombardino said. "Coach said we need to get more post touches instead of settling for the outside shot."
The value of the Lady Bobcats' play on the inside is vital to the team's success, both offensively and defensively. Holthus pointed out another area where the Lady 'Cats toughness inside thus far has helped the team to prosperity.
"We have to continue to be aggressive on the boards, and I am very pleased our kids are taking pride in trying to out-rebound opponents," Holthus said. "There are several kids that are doing a nice job on the boards for us. It had been an area of emphasis for us in the offseason."
Holthus had been concerned with the team's free throw shooting at the outset of the season. The sole blemish on the schedule came at the hands of Parsons, a 32-29, double-overtime loss in the championship game of the Iola Tournament. In the contest the Bobcats went 8-for-22 from the free throw line.
With a stated goal of shooting 70 percent or better from the stripe as a team, Holthus has pulled out a drill that simulates the intensity of a real game.
"We've been shooting free throws under pressure," Lombardino said. "Each person from our team has to shoot a free throw at the end of practice. If they miss it, they have to watch everyone else run a down and back."
In addition to the delight over the team's improved free throw shooting, Holthus is pleased with the work ethic of her team.
"The kids have maintained their conditioning and strength," Holthus said. "They really seem to enjoy being in the weight room. Our approach has gotten so much stronger from a mental standpoint. They are looking forward to the challenge that faces them."
The next challenge will be presented Friday evening against Perry. Holthus said the team will be ready.
"We are taking it one game at a time," Holthus said. "We aren't going to overlook anyone. We are anxious to get back on the floor."
Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.