Dream season ends in disappointment
Bobcats knocked out by Baldwin in sub-state semifinals
It took seven minutes to derail a perfect season.
The Basehor-Linwood boy's basketball team led Baldwin 34-24 with seven minutes left in regulation Thursday night in Tonganoxie. The Bobcats had dominated the first 25 minutes of this second-round sub-state contest, holding the Bulldogs to less than 30 percent shooting.
Baldwin couldn't miss down the stretch. The Bulldogs held the normally prolific Bobcat offense to four points in the game's last seven minutes, shocking BLHS 40-38. The nightmare quarter ended the consistently resilient Bobcats '06-'07 campaign.
"This season we turned it around, but I still didn't think we believed," coach Mike McBride said. "It just didn't look like we believed that we could win. When you turn around and win 15 games in four years at this school and you turn out to be 17-5, I just don't think they really believed it.
"Heck, you hold them to 40 points and you don't win, that is not our style of basketball. Obliviously we didn't make shots. When you don't make shots in this game, you won't win."
The Bobcats struggled offensively throughout the game. The defense was stifling, however, and they led Baldwin 19-13 at halftime. The Bulldogs were 6-for-19 from the field in the first half; the Bobcats were 8-for-32.
BLHS led 30-24 at the third quarter's buzzer. They scored the first four points of the fourth, to lead 34-24 with seven minutes to play.
The Bulldogs consequently went on a 9-0 run in less than a minute and a half to cut the lead to 34-33 with 5:35 left. Baldwin took their first lead since the first quarter with two minutes to play, 37-36, on Dustin Schiller's lay-up.
"We were up by 10, but we were playing like we were behind by 10," center Jacob Schierbaum said. "No one looked to shoot; no one looked at the basket. We were just going through the motions. We were really just playing keep-away; we didn't look to score. They got steals and scored. We never really came back."
Baldwin led 40-38 with 25 seconds left after Blake Wieden hit one-of-two free throws. The Bulldogs had a foul to give, and used it on Austin Knipp with 8.2 seconds left.
Knipp's defender slipped out of the inbounds play, leaving the senior a wide-open three-point shot to win the game. His attempt bounced on the rim twice before finding the hands of Chandler Schaake, who had a jump shot to send it into overtime. Schaake's errant attempt was fought over as the buzzer sounded. The nightmare quarter put an end to the consistently resilient Bobcat's season
"We were hoping everyone would key on Austin, like usual," McBride said. "We've run that play a thousand times in practice. Their kid actually fell down. We crashed the boards and had another wide open 4-footer to put it into overtime.
"You can't ask for two wide-open shots; you can't ask for anything more than that. I thought we had it won when Austin got that wide open on the last three-pointer."
So did Knipp.
"I was kind of shocked. I could never have imagined it ending that way," Knipp said. "I thought it was going in. It looked good from where I was. When it rimmed out I was in shock, but that is how it was all night for me. All of my shots were rimming out.
"It was just one of our normal plays. We had already run it five times that game. The guy just happened to slip, I just happened to get open, I just couldn't convert."
BLHS finished the game shooting 17-for-61 from the field, 27.9 percent. The Bobcats turned the ball over only eight times. BLHS caused 16 Bulldog turnovers. The Bobcats also had 21 more field goal attempts than Baldwin, 61-40. The Bulldogs ended the game 14-for-40 from the field, 35 percent.
"We got the steals, we got the wide-open shots, we just couldn't put the ball in the hole," Schierbaum said. "That's what it came down to."
Tanner Swafford had a team-high 14 points and seven rebounds in defeat. Knipp added 12 points and three steals. Schierbaum had five points, five rebounds, and three blocked shots.
"It's just a tough way to lose," Schierbaum said. "It was too quick; too short of a season for me."