Basehor-Linwood coaches hope to build off winning home hoops tournaments
A week has done nothing to diminish the glow of accomplishments for Basehor-Linwood basketball coaches Mike McBride and Noah Simpson.
After the two coaches led their respective teams to championships last week in the Bobcat Invitational, the first championships captured in both programs history in the tournament they host, they inevitable letdown games against Tonganoxie.
But both think the tournament experience will help the teams down the road when it counts-in substate.
The boys beat the Chieftains 54-42, but McBride lamented a lack of execution that he blamed on a hangover effect. The girls lost their first game of the season, 50-44 in overtime.
Simpson said the result was more from the rigorous competition than a hangover:
"We played three straight games against top-ranked teams. We played Holton, who is No. 5 in 4A, Platte Count, who is No. 3 in Missouri 4A, and Tonganoxie, who is no. 8 in Kansas 4A. We went 2-1 in those games and the one loss went to overtime. In all reality, I think we did a good job. I am extremely proud of the girls."
Simpson said the reaction to the championship over the last week was great.
"There was tons of support from parents and community members and students," Simpson said. "The energy around the programs right now is extremely high. It is a great thing to be a part of. Both of us are battling for a league title. It has created a pretty big buzz around the community. People have been very supportive of what is going on."
The team talked about the championship last weekend.
"We talked about how nice it was to win, mainly for the community and the school," Simpson said. "Especially for Mr. Keeler, who has put together these amazing tournaments-he has never had the personal satisfaction of having teams win it, especially in the same night. Other than that, we talked about getting ready for the rest of the year."
Simpson is not concerned at all that his team might have peaked early.
"If we have peaks, we hit a low point on Friday," Simpson said. "We are looking at it like we are 0-0 and just starting from here. There are plenty of things for us left to accomplish and I know these girls will accomplish them."
Friday's results 'dropped' the girls to 12-1, while the boys won their sixth straight to improve to 9-4.
McBride said he didn't hear much of a reaction around town after the tournament, although the coach admitted he keeps to himself. He called last week "pretty special."
"I think the kids heard a lot more about it then we did," McBride said. "I think that is what is tough for kids. Everyone pats them on the back and tells them how great they are. It's hard to come back and respond from that. You feel good about yourself and you need to come back for the grind to sub-state."
Even though they beat Tonganoxie, the coach wasn't pleased with the effort.
"I felt like we were very flat," McBride said. "I tried to pump them up all week and tell them how important this game was. The simple fact of the matter is that if you win the championship at your own school and work as hard we had to work in those three games; we were flat."
McBride said the tournament proved to him that his team can win a physical game, a trait they didn't possess last year. He also said he liked the pressure cooker atmosphere of the regular season tournaments, with the added bonus that a loss won't end their season.
"It feels to me like people are waiting for the end of the year, because we were so close last year," McBride said. "Both the boys and girls are very, very good and both of us have a shot to go to state. On the boy's side, I don't think we have peaked at all yet."
The coach and his team now turn their focus to Lansing.
"Over the weekend, I told the kids they had to think about Lansing and only Lansing, because whoever wins that game is in the driver seat for league," McBride said. "Even though I felt like that hurt us a little last year, not losing in league, you have to win what you can when you are in the middle of it. Lansing is going to come after us. We could still have a little bit of a hangover.
It's going to be a big test for us, but we have to step up and we have to force ourselves out of that."