Archive for Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: Big year for Bobcats

Hardwood heroics, playoff berth among Basehor’s top highlights

The Basehor Linwood boys and girls basketball teams both won first place in the 2008 Bobcat Invitational Basketball Tournament.

The Basehor Linwood boys and girls basketball teams both won first place in the 2008 Bobcat Invitational Basketball Tournament.

December 31, 2008

If 2007 was a year of elevated expectations at Basehor-Linwood High School, 2008 was a year where the Bobcats answered the call.

BLHS teams entered the year with targets on their backs after setting the bar high with 2007 performances. The Bobcats didn’t disappoint this year, either. They won Kaw Valley League championships, earned state tournament berths and achieved longtime personal goals.

They also upgraded facilities, setting the stage for the future Bobcats to excel athletically.

Here, in no particular order, is a look back at five big stories from 2008.

HARDWOOD DOMINATION

Separated by just a matter of hours, the Basehor-Linwood boys and girls basketball teams secured Kaw Valley League championships.

First, the girls handed Bonner Springs a 62-52 victory. A little while later they received news that Mill Valley had upset Tonganoxie, thus giving Basehor the league championship outright. A wild celebration ensued in the locker room.

Players soon drifted into the gym and spread the word to fans that were watching the BLHS boys play.

The public address announcer informed the crowd that the girls had won the league.

Not long after, the Basehor boys polished off Bonner Springs, 55-41. A Lansing victory over Perry-Lecompton on the same night gave the Bobcats the outright championship for the second straight year.

Both the BLHS boys and girls had talented senior classes that led them to the league titles. For the girls there were Brooke Sanders, Cassie Lombardino, Michelle Chrisman, Ashley Jeannin, Elyse Douglas and Megan O’Bryan. For the boys, there were Tanner Swafford, Jacob Schierbaum, Scott Ogilvie and Alex Ziegler.

BOBCAT GIRLS STATE-BOUND

BLHS girls basketball coach Noah Simpson gave his team two simple instructions prior to the Class 4A sub-state championship game: Have fun and play your game.

Basehor did both to perfection. Seniors Cassie Lombardino and Ashley Jeannin combined to score 38 points and led BLHS to a 62-44 rout of Eudora.

The victory propelled the Bobcats into the state tournament for just the second time in school history. The 1994-95 season was the first.

Just like that earlier trip, however, the Bobcats lost in the first round at state. Holton defeated them, 55-51.

BLHS ended its season with a 22-2 record.

OGILVIE TAKES FIFTH

For two years in a row, Scott Ogilvie has been the only Basehor-Linwood track athlete to advance to the state championships.

As a senior in 2008, he closed out his prep career as a state medalist.

One of the area’s top hurdlers all year long, Ogilvie qualified for state in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, and he returned home with a fifth-place medal in the 110s.

Ogilvie was eliminated from the 300s in the preliminaries, but he was just fast enough — by six-hundredths of a second — to qualify for the finals in the 110s.

Seeded eighth entering finals and needing a top-seven finish to medal, Ogilvie did better than that. He ran a clean race while others hit multiple hurdles. His smooth run paid off and he ended his career as a state medalist.

“My goal was just to run my fastest race and be smooth,” he said. “I figured someone might trip up and fall and I didn’t want to be that guy, so I just ran my best race.”

FACILITIES UPGRADES

Sept. 22 marked a new beginning for the Basehor-Linwood soccer program. On that evening the Bobcats officially broke in their new home field. Under construction for the past year, BLHS held a field dedication prior to a boys soccer home contest with Sumner Academy.

Balloons were released following introductions of school board members, volunteers and others who helped make the new field a reality.

In the distance, two other athletic facilities also could be seen under construction. Softball and baseball fields are in various stages of development on campus. They are the latest step in an athletic facilities masterplan that will allow the Bobcats to play their home games on campus in the future.

BACK TO THE PLAYOFFS

Basehor-Linwood has yet to establish itself as a football powerhouse in the Kaw Valley League — Lansing, Mill Valley and Perry-Lecompton have laid claim to that status in recent years.

Still, the Bobcats have quietly built themselves into a program that isn’t to be taken lightly. They’ve used games against the league’s upper echelon teams to prepare for the postseason. That, of course, is when all teams want to shine. BLHS is no exception and, for the second straight year, the Bobcats earned a spot in the Class 4A state playoffs in 2008.

They shrugged off early losses and surged in district play. They dismantled Tonganoxie, weathered a tough loss to Bishop Ward and then won a down-to-the-wire thriller against Piper to earn a spot in the playoffs before Holton handed BLHS a season-ending loss.

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