BLHS girls finish fourth at home tourney
Basehor-Linwood girls basketball players listened as coach Noah Simpson talked to them after the third-place game on Saturday.
The Bobcats had lost to Platte County, 58-34, which was the team’s second loss in as many games.
Simpson spoke about the need to play intense basketball and be prepared to play a full game.
“I told our players, ‘you have to play as hard and intense as you can for 32 minutes straight. If you don’t then good teams are going to expose your weaknesses,’” Simpson said.
He also said it was just one game. He challenged them to walk out of the locker room with their heads held high and learn from the loss. He also challenged the players to put it behind them before practice on Monday.
The team has played 10 games and learned a lot about itself, he said.
“It is just a learning process. We have had 10 games to learn now, and I am challenging them to walk out of the locker room with their heads held high and have a positive attitude,” he said. “We have as many as 16 games left if we make it to state and a lot of basketball to play.”
Yet, for all of the talk, Simpson and the Bobcats simply didn’t have a lot of answers for Platte County on Saturday.
Bren Koontz led all Basehor-Linwood scorers with 9 points. Megan Bergstrom scored 7.
BLHS struggled to get into a flow on offense against Platte County, which played a pressure style of defense.
“Platte County is quick and athletic,” Simpson said. “A lot of the passes that we normally make, they got hands on. They forced us out of our game a little bit; we had a hard time adjusting to that and keeping our composure.”
The Bobcats struggled in the first half.
The Pirates pressured the Bobcats into nine first-quarter turnovers and led 13-2 at the end of the first period. Basehor-Linwood’s guards struggled with Platte County’s press. Platte County played close man-to-man defense that gave the Bobcats fits in the quarter.
Platte County featured a balanced scoring attack as Morgan Johnson scored 8 first-half points and Mandy Black scored 6.
Basehor-Linwood scored 8 points in the second quarter, but was still outscored 14-8 in the quarter. Platte County led 27-10 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Koontz started with a 3-pointer before Platte County embarked on an 11-5 run to widen the score, eventually leading 38-18 in the basketball game.
Johnson was a dominating player in the game. She completed a 3-point play with a layup and foul shot to clinch the run, and then subbed out of the game. When she sat down, she had scored 18 points, equaling Basehor-Linwood’s point total.
Neither team mounted a major offensive run the rest of the quarter, rather they traded baskets. Platte County led 49-25 entering the fourth quarter of play.
The final quarter featured a lot of missed shots and turnovers by both teams. Basehor-Linwood won the scoring battle, 9-8, but lost the game.
On defense, the Bobcats also didn’t have an answer for Johnson as she blocked shots, drilled frees throws and dropped in layups. The University of Iowa-bound player was a difference maker in the game.
“I think the thing Morgan Johnson teaches our team about is that she works harder than anybody,” Simpson said. “Not many players have the hard work and determination that she has. That is a big reason why she has the opportunities that she does entering next season.”
With the win, Johnson and her teammates avenged last season’s Basehor-Linwood Invitational tournament loss.
Basehor-Linwood plays Lansing on Tuesday and Mill Valley on Friday in what will be a series of clashes between the top teams in the Kaw Valley League.
“Come Monday we have to be ready to practice and go play Tuesday,” Simpson said. “The past is the past; we can’t change the past but we can look to the future and come in focused and get ready for the rest of the season.”