Basehor boys defeat Ottawa
Tanner Swafford scored 15 points and Chandler Schaake added 12, leading Basehor-Linwood to a 54-44 victory over Ottawa in the semifinals of the Bobcat Basketball Invitational.
The Bobcats were able to withstand the 22 points scored by Cyclones big man Brandon Tuner, who fouled out with about two minutes left in the game.
Schaake scored 10 of his points in the first quarter, helping BLHS to pull out to a 16-12 lead. The Bobcats went into the break with a 28-25 advantage.
Coach Mike McBride said it is a good sign the team has put together a stretch of successful games.
"That was bigger than the win itself - trying to get a string together where we play tough every game," McBride said. "These guys were so physical inside. That is why we got beat out of substate last year, because we didn't know how to win physical games. So yeah, it was huge."
Schaake said the team pretended it was a substate game to help them prepare for the future.
McBride was intense on the sideline. With the score 43-38 in the fourth quarter, McBride, disgusted by a turnover, called a timeout. He threw his diagram board to the ground and yelled at the team. The Bobcats responded by closing the game on an 11-6 run, ending the Cyclones hope.
"I felt like they responded well," McBride said. "Sometimes you just get tired. You work so hard and you are trying to go for 32 minutes, and sometimes you just have to wake them up. They are a little fatigued, but at the same time you have to look at the scoreboard and say, hey, we are trying to win this thing."
Tuner spent the second half in foul trouble. The Cyclones offense stagnated when he wasn't in the game.
"They had him just parked out there in the lane," McBride said. "He is a big, physical player. If we make the state tournament, we will see more players like that. He is a tough player; he was pushing us all over the place."
Schaake said the problem fell on the team's help defense. The Bobcats didn't collapse on Tuner when he had the ball.
McBride said he was happy with the guard play; the coach had recently been critical of their play. Schaake said he has been playing better by not over-thinking on the court.
"They've played better the last three games," McBride said. "I've been saying it all year: when we all bring energy, we are pretty tough."
Off the bench, Mark Vaca hit three three-pointers and finished with nine points.
"Mark is a key guy now," Schaake said. "He brings a spark off the bench."
Inside, Jacob Schierbaum finished with five points and seven rebounds. Scott Ogilvie had eight points and four rebounds.
The win propels the Bobcats into their first championship game of the McBride era.
"You gotta be mentally tough to get through some things," McBride said. "They are finally growing as a team. It is good to see as a coach. We weren't a very good team at the beginning of the year, but we are finally coming together."