Familiar faces recognized by KVL coaches
One of the most successful seasons of Basehor-Linwood girls basketball in the past decade was recognized last week, as two Lady Bobcats were honored by the Kaw Valley League.
Brooke Sanders and Cassie Lombardino were awarded first-team spots by the league's coaches.
"I felt honored," Lombardino said. "It means something to me. It is a reward for all of the hard work I have put in this season. We've all worked hard. I wouldn't have done it without everyone else."
This year marked the third straight season Lombardino has been honored by the league. What would a four-year high school sweep of individual awards mean to her?
"I think that would be awesome," Lombardino said. "If I keep working hard I know I can get it. It's going to be a challenge. It would be really cool."
Lombardino averaged 12.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game this season. She shot 50 percent from the field.
"That is an outstanding statistic," former BLHS coach Tami Holthus said. "Part of that is taking good shots. Her shot selection was good."
Lombardino had a season-high 20 points against Girard. She set the season-high rebounding mark with 18 against Lansing.
"One thing about Cassie that I have been impressed with is her approach on a daily basis," Holthus said. "She has worked very, very hard. Her approach in practice has been outstanding."
Lombardino recorded seven double-doubles this season. Five of those games came against league opponents.
Lombardino was able to set the new school-record for blocked shots, swatting away 49 attempts. She had 21 last year, as a sophomore.
After her output this season, Lombardino currently stands in fourth place on the school's all-time scoring list.
Sanders averaged 8.1 points, and 3.3 rebounds per game. She led the team in assists and steals with 49 and 43, respectively. She also led the team with a 57 percent mark from the free-throw line.
"The outstanding thing about Brooke is she was able to accomplish what she did while playing 30 to 32 minutes per game," Holthus said. She got us settled on both ends of the floor and took a leadership role. Our turnovers went considerably down. We were more efficient on our possessions."
Sanders' statistics were not as gaudy as many of the players she joined on the first team. Her accomplishments were mostly accounted for by subjective observation from the league's coaches.
"That is why it feels good that people recognize the impact of what I do on the floor even if I don't score 20 points or have a bunch of rebounds," Sanders said. "I feel good that my play was recognized."
Several of the duo's teammates were happy the squad's point guard and center were honored as well.
"I think they definitely deserved it," sophomore Bren Koontz said. "It showed that Basehor is getting better."
After a breakout season, the Lady 'Cats will enter their next campaign with two first-team, all-league performers and the rest of their starting lineup intact. They are hungry.
"It's cool to have two people get it from our team," Lombardino said. "We took a big step this year with everything. We came a long ways. We need to keep working hard.
"This will motivate us to get stronger, smarter and better."