Fort Scott victory helps Lady Bobcats get back on track
For the Basehor-Linwood girls basketball team, it was time to get back to basics. After losing consecutive games the Lady Bobcats clamped down on defense, blowing out Fort Scott 48-33 in the second round of last week's Bobcat Invitational.
The Tigers shot an utterly anemic 10-for-49, just more than 20 percent from the field.
"They have very quick guards," BLHS coach Tami Holthus said. "The strength of their game is their ability to penetrate. We tried to make sure that we were taking that away."
Holthus labeled the win "monumental" for her team's confidence. The coach was impressed by her squad's ability to perform while mourning over a fallen teammate.
"It is devastating," Holthus said of the injury. "To all of the girls, especially to Michelle (Chrisman, out with a knee injury). There have been a lot of tears, with the entire team.
"We are all hurting for her. I am very proud of all of the kids for the way that they battled through that. Michelle was a big part of that. She was on the bench with us; she was in the locker room with us."
Brooke Sanders starred in a different role than she is accustomed. After frequently taking a backseat offensively to teammates earlier in the season, Sanders came alive on this night.
She scored 17 points, including a handful of fourth quarter free throws to keep the Tigers at arm's length.
"I just haven't been shooting well this season, so far," Sanders said. "It is a relief to finally have that happen. It is a weight off my shoulders."
Sanders was also happy with the team's defensive intensity.
"I believe we are a great defensive team," Sanders said. "We work hard on defense. We get after it on every possession."
The night didn't start out so kindly for Sanders. The Lady Bobcats held a slim 5-4 lead heading into the second quarter, with Sanders having missed her first four shots from the field.
"I just ask her to keep shooting, because she is an outstanding shooter," Holthus said, pointing out the early misses. "With the loss of Michelle, she knows that puts additional responsibility on her from a scoring standpoint.
"But not just scoring-wise. She did a great job of leading this team tonight, and taking care of the pressure with the ball. We knew they would be coming at us in the second half."
Sanders was instrumental in helping to put away Fort Scott. With four minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Tigers went on a 5-0 run to close the gap to seven, 35-28.
The Lady Bobcats let them get no closer. Sanders' free throw shooting played a large role. She shot 9-for-13 from the stripe, a majority coming in the fourth quarter as the Tigers resorted to fouling on nearly every possession.
"I thought the kids did an outstanding job of responding to that run," Holthus said. "Brooke Sanders did a super job of leading the charge. Taking care of the ball, hitting free throws down the stretch, and playing like a true point guard, and I am very proud of her."
Kara Douglas played a big role as Chrisman's replacement in the starting lineup. She scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
"Kara Douglas played an outstanding game for us on both ends of the floor," Holthus said. "We knew she was very capable of doing that."
Megan O'Bryan also came off the bench and received a good chunk of Chrisman's minutes. She scored six points and grabbed three rebounds.
"Megan O'Bryan came in and gave us outstanding minutes and gave us a real offensive punch when we needed it," Holthus said. "All of the kids stepped up. They knew when Michelle went down that we needed everyone to step up, and get some things done for us, and they did that."
Ashley Jeannin added seven points, three rebounds, and three assists. Cassie Lombardino chipped in six points and seven rebounds.
The most important stat was the win.
"(This win) was very important for the confidence of the team," Sanders said. "We lost Michelle, and that was for her."
For a recap of the Lady Bobcats' fifth-place game, see story on Page 4B.