Basehor girls excited to play in Class 4A state tournament
The Basehor-Linwood girls basketball team played in the state tournament on Wednesday against a familiar opponent..
The Bobcats are the only team to have beaten Holton all season.
"It's awesome. It's a great feeling," coach Noah Simpson said of qualifying for state. "It's really good for these six seniors. That has been the focus all year. We have talked about doing everything possible to make sure they go out on the right note."
The Bobcats qualified after a dominant performance in substate, winning all three games by double digits, including a 62-44 championship game victory over Eudora.
They played Holton at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday in Salina. BLHS beat HHS 38-32 on Jan. 17 in the second round of Bobcat Invitational.
"Prep wise it was probably good because we have seen them," Simpson said. "We know what they like to run and their style of defense. We have been successful against it. Holton has also seen our stuff and they want to avenge their loss. They will be ready to play."
Cassie Lombardino struggled in the first matchup between the teams, scoring nine points on 4-13 shooting from the field. Lombardino said the key will be the perimeter players opening up the floor.
"All the guards will shoot from the outside and kick it in when they can," Lombardino said. "I'll be there for rebounds."
Simpson said the team's offensive strategy will be the same as it was in substate.
"We want our guards take good shots and that will open it up for Cassie," Simpson said. "I don't expect her to have a low scoring game. She's really elevated her game. Right now, we have had four girls score over 20 points in a game and we feel comfortable about spreading it out."
Point guard Brooke Sanders had 10 of the team's 38 points against Holton.
"We need to take care of the ball," Simpson said.
Offensively, Holton loves to shoot the ball from long range.
"The first time we played them, they put up 24 three-pointers," Simpson said. "They only hit three against us and we did a good job of defending them."
The teams entered the game with identical 22-1 records. BLHS received the fourth seed as a result of the head-to-head result.
The winner will play in the state semifinal at 3 p.m. Friday. That game, barring upset, will probably be against 23-0 and first seeded Colby.
BLHS has only made the state tournament in girl's basketball once, in 1994-95, losing in the first round that year. Nerves may be strong when tip-off arrives.
"I think the nerves and jitters are something to look at," Simpson said. "At this point there are only eight teams left. You do what you can to play your style of basketball. I think we will be nervous up to the point, I think the girls are very mature and have grown up. That will help us."
Lombardino said the jitters likely would disappear when the ball is tipped off and the team is playing up tempo.
The tournament bracket featured dominant teams who qualified by winning their individual substates.
Three teams that had undefeated records. Holton and Basehor-Linwood each had one loss.