Lady Bobcats let halftime lead slip away
Friday night's fifth-place game in the girls bracket of the Bobcat Invitational was a game of prosperity and futility between Basehor-Linwood and Platte County.
The Lady Bobcats' offense went dry when it could least afford to, and the Pirates won, 42-35.
Platte County pressured early, opening the game in a full court press. They quickly staked an 8-4 lead four minutes into the first quarter. They wouldn't score again in the first half.
The Lady 'Cats ripped off a 13-0 run, including a 9-0 second quarter, and entered halftime with a 17-8 lead. The Pirates offense could do nothing, turning the ball over 11 times in the games first 15 minutes.
But everything unraveled for BLHS as soon as the second half began. The Pirates outscored the Bobcats 18-2 in the third quarter, a stark contrast to a second quarter when roles had been reversed.
Forward Kara Douglas was blunt regarding the team's second half performance.
"I think we thought that we had the game won already, so we let down," Douglas said.
BLHS coach Tami Holthus centered her halftime talk on an inevitable Pirates run.
"We talked at halftime about how we knew they going to bring a punch," coach Tami Holthus said. "They did, and we didn't answer it. We didn't respond to their run at us. We need to get tougher minded, to be able to handle that."
The game featured a physical matchup in the post. Center Morgan Johnson of Platte County finished with 12 points, 18 rebounds, and five blocked shots. The 6-foot-4 sophomore spent the game pushing and being pushed by Cassie Lombardino and Douglas.
Johnson entered the half with only two points and six rebounds. With Lombardino and Douglas in foul trouble, Johnson took over once matched up with a front court made up of 5-foot-5 Bren Koontz and 5-foot-5 Megan O'Bryan.
"It was a major disadvantage," Holthus said. "I thought Cassie did a nice job on her. It is a disadvantage to be outsized like that."
The coach realized they would have to change defensive strategies when her biggest post players were relegated to the bench.
"We tried to go with a quicker defense when we got into foul trouble," Holthus said. "We tried to switch it up and do some pressing and trapping."
Douglas thought the biggest problem was on the boards.
"She was pretty tough," Douglas said. "We were ready for her in the beginning, but we just didn't rebound well, which hurt us because she is so tall."
The Bobcats held Johnson below her season average of 16 points per game. But she still was able to alter the BLHS defense to open things up for her teammates.
"I don't think we were meaning to foul, it just happened," Douglas said. "We were trying to double team and not let her have as many points as she usually does."
Holthus was quick to point out that the Bobcats were not beaten by one player, or even the other team.
"We came out flat in the second half and let our guard down," Holthus said. "We can't do that. We can't do that against anyone."
Brooke Sanders led the Bobcats with 13 points. The point guard was very active on defense, with five steals.
Koontz had five points and five rebounds, along with two assists. Lombardino added 10 points and five rebounds.