Basehor-Linwood’s loss to St. James in semifinals halts state dreams
The year didn't end where members of the Basehor-Linwood boys basketball team wanted it to, but it remained a successful season.
While the Bobcats preached the importance of substate preparation throughout the season, even at the expense of regular season games, player still felt like it was a strong season.
Despite the bitter disappointment of having ended the season too soon, all parties acknowledged that winning the Kaw Valley League title and finishing with a 17-6 record still qualified as a success.
"This senior class won six games as freshmen," coach Mike McBride said. "Jacob Schierbaum was the only one (to play) up, and he won five games as a freshman. Sometimes you wonder if they ever truly have the confidence they need when you start a program. It makes it hard to get over the top. You want them to dream and that keys your season. I can't say this makes the season a disappointment. I can't say that at all. These guys have won two league championships in a row, they have worked exceptionally hard, and they have been extremely loyal. They are great kids. We need to pick up the pieces and keep building with what we have left."
Tanner Swafford said after the game that he was proud of what they accomplished this season.
"The season is not a disappointment; it just came to a disappointing end," Swafford said. "It was still a great season and I had fun. We competed. I will look back on it and smile, but I will still be emotional about it. I will look back on it and be upset that we didn't get there because that was our main goal. But I had fun with my teammates and that is all that matters.
The scene outside of the locker room after the St. James Academy game was eerily similar to last year at this time. The players and coaches all appeared with varying levels of shock while attempting to come to grips with what had been a premature playoff exit.
The rise and fall of both teams appears very similar as well. The 2006-'07 Bobcats raced to the KVL title and finished the regular season 16-4. After blowing out a very young St. James team in the first round of substate, the team was shocked by Baldwin 40-38. The Bobcats entered that game having won 10 straight games.
The '07-'08 Bobcats also won the KVL title while finishing the regular season 16-5. After running past Eudora in the first round of substate, the team was defeated by a vastly improved St. James, 62-42. Basehor-Linwood entered the game having won 14 of 15 games.
"We lost (Austin) Knipp and (Matt) Fanning from last year, some good shooters, and we bounced back and thought we would do pretty well," Chandler Schaake said. "But I guess that since we didn't have the confidence that we should have, they beat us."
Schaake characterized the mood in the locker room after the game as ticked off.
McBride said the team played just about as bad a game as they had played all year against St. James.
"We also played this bad at Emporia," McBride said. "Their ball pressure bothered us. We got bull-headed and tried to do some stuff that we can't do. That's the same thing that happened at Emporia. Sometimes when you have some games like that at the beginning of the year, those things come back to haunt you. That's kind of what happened. We got things fixed, and we were feeling pretty good about ourselves, but we lost our focus. It has happened many times to me."
McBride said he began preparation for next season "when I walked out of the locker room."
"I've been doing this for 10 years now and I can't seem to get over the top," McBride said. "Obviously we are going to look at some things. And maybe it is more discipline. Maybe it is to get away from motion. We had people in the same spots tonight, which we hadn't done all year. We weren't moving well. We will look at things."
That future will prominently feature Schaake and Anthony Pierce, a pair of guards. Swafford said he thinks "Basehor has a bright future."
Schaake, was told after the St. James game to start preparing for next year.
"They made sure I remembered," Schaake said.
"They said I had to be a leader - me and Pierce. I didn't want to look forward yet, but we are."