Pierce, ‘Cats calm Cyclones
With three seconds left in the third quarter, Anthony Pierce shot from half court.
The ball hung on the rim briefly and then bounced up before falling into the basket as time expired.
The crowd let out a roar.
Pierce flexed his arms in celebration as teammates on the BLHS bench congratulated him.
The basket was a fitting end to a quarter of domination for the Basehor-Linwood boys basketball team.
At the end of the quarter, Basehor-Linwood led 41-19, had outscored the Cyclones 17-0 and was on its way to a 60-27 victory.
Freshman Colin Murphy scored 8 points in the quarter and finished with 12 points. He scored all around the basket, showing a knack for dropping in layups. He and twin brother Ryan Murphy played better along with the team’s other freshmen after struggling in the first two quarters of play.
“They played like freshmen in the first half. We got onto them, and they came back in the second half, Ryan still didn’t get many points, but they came on in the second half,” coach Mike McBride said.
Chandler Schaake scored 3 points in the quarter, and Pierce heated up in the final seconds.
Pierce picked up where he left off in the fourth quarter. He hit two more 3-pointers from the same spot on the floor early in the fourth quarter to help BLHS extend the lead to 47-19.
A possession later, Tanner Bowers drained a 3-pointer, and the score was 50-19.
The running clock was in effect, and the Bobcats were on a roll. The performance also signaled that Basehor-Linwood’s senior guards had responded to McBride’s request for a return to the days of yesteryear with their performances on the court.
Pierce and Bowers responded to McBride’s talk during the weekend in which he appeared to remind the players of the types of basketball players they can be.
“We did a little soul searching and discussed why we weren’t driving, why we weren’t scoring. We really weren’t doing much. We had been concentrating so much on the big men for six months; the big men all come around quicker than I thought. Maybe I had been neglecting our guards a little bit,” McBride said.
For example, Pierce shot 38 percent from 3-point range last season, and McBride asked him where that had been early in the season.
Pierce responded by scoring 8 points in the game including the 3-pointers.
Bowers, a four-year varsity player for the Bobcats, has been a consistent shooter throughout his career. McBride challenged him to shoot more. He made two 3-pointers in the game.
The coach was pleased with how his players responded to the challenge.
“I was proud, even the first half they shot it pretty well,” McBride said. “Once the bigs brought it in the second half, it kind of opened it up for everybody.”
Basehor-Linwood also played stifling defense in the second half of the game.
Bishop Ward struggled to make a shot and couldn’t eliminate turnovers on possessions.
If the Bobcats were red hot, then Cyclones’ wind was Kansas City cold.
At 4:24 the running clock rule was implemented due to the 30-point deficit.
Bishop Ward proceeded to score its first points of the half. The Bobcats answered, but Bishop Ward answered with a 3-pointer from sophomore reserve Kelly Wyatt which sent the Bobcats into a roar.
Yes, the team’s performance had given the players a chance to relax and enjoy playing basketball.
“You have to work hard to have fun, that is what we preach,” McBride said. “Maybe this is it. At least we have a half like this. We will have ups and downs still, but now we know that we have a half like this in the bank.”
The Bobcats’ play in the second half opened up a game that was close in the first half.
BLHS trailed 9-7 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Bobcats started off on a 12-4 run to take a 19-13 lead. The Bobcats led 24-19 at halftime.
With the victory behind them, Basehor-Linwood improves to 4-2 on the season and 2-0 in the Kaw Valley League. The team plays Friday at Bonner Springs.
BASEHOR 58, TURNER 26
Basehor-Linwood shrugged off a sluggish start to defeat Turner High School, 58-26, on Friday and earn its first Kaw Valley League victory of the season.
Chandler Schaake scored 21 points in the game. He was the team’s only player to score in double figures.
Basehor-Linwood led 24-16 at halftime and outscored Turner 18-4 in the third quarter to take a commanding 42-20 lead.