Archive for Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A different feeling

Basehor-Linwood coach Noah Simpson begins new era of basketball season without biggest fan

November 28, 2007

This time will be different. For the last 25 years, Noah Simpson and his father, Leonard "Buck" Simpson, went to every sporting event possible together. When the younger Simpson was in college at Emporia State his dad would travel as far as Wichita to see him coach a middle school boy's game and then drive back to Basehor the same evening. The elder Simpson never missed a game his son played or coached in.

The last time Coach Simpson saw his father alive was in the corner of the Tonganoxie gym during the season-ending substate loss to the Chieftains last year. Buck Simpson would pass away later that evening.

"I will never forget the thoughtfulness of our girls and the phone calls and visits to our family," Simpson said. "I will also never forget the card that was sent to me from the Tonganoxie girl's basketball program showing their support for me and my family. I keep that card and the cards of our players on my desk at school and see them every day."

All of which will make Friday night's opener against Tonganoxie, Simpson's debut as the head coach at Basehor-Linwood, all the more emotional.

Simpson said the switch from assistant to head coach a smooth transition."

"That should be credited to the girls and the coaching staff," Simpson said. "They have all embraced me as their head coach and have made this a very natural transition."

The first change Simpson made during practice was changing the pace at which the team played--he wants an up-tempo offense and an attacking defense, which will be a big change from former coach Tami Holthus' slowdown system. Simpson said the girls have picked up the changes quickly.

"Practice has been great," Simpson said. "The girls have worked so hard on learning the new system, getting in basketball shape and just having fun with the game. We have really stressed our defense and our transition game. We really try to get the girls out of their comfort zones and learn new ways to play the game."

Simpson said he has seen progress every day of practice.

"Sometimes you run into let downs and setbacks when practicing so long without an opponent, but not with this group," Simpson said. "They have done a wonderful job of working hard everyday to get better and to learn. Everyday has been another step in the right direction."

Simpson said he has been very impressed with a number of girls on the team.

"Our six seniors have taken to the idea that each day is one day closer to the end

and they have practiced with a purpose of going out strong as seniors," Simpson said. "Cassie Lombardino is playing great--doing a great job of getting up and down the floor. Brooke Sanders and Ashley Jeannin are doing a great job of pushing the ball and seeing the floor in transition, as well as scoring. Michelle Chrisman is shooting the ball well and really getting after it defensively.

"Elyse Douglas is shooting the ball extremely well. Megan O'Bryan is a wonderful defensive player and is playing at a faster pace offensively. Courtney Hooks is a great addition to this group. She has a sense around the basket that not very many players have, let alone sophomores. Amber Jeannin has been great at pushing the ball and playing excellent defense. Kara Douglas has done a great job of rebounding.

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