Former Bobcats return to BLHS to coach summer MAYB teams
Basehor-Linwood girls basketball coach Noah Simpson has preached the concept of family to his players since he took over the program two years ago.
He has stressed the concepts that once you have played in the program, you always will have a place.
While a lot of coaches might say this, Simpson has backed up those words with action.
He has attempted to bridge the gap between alumni and future Bobcats players by bringing alumni back to coach in summer leagues.
This summer, five former players helped coach subvarsity level teams for the Bobcats during MAYB tournaments and in practice.
Megan O’Bryan coached the seventh grade team. Amber Jeannin and Bren Koontz coached an incoming group of eighth-graders.
Brooke Sanders and Cassie Lombardino coached a team of ninth- and 10th-graders.
“It is definitely, something we hoped for,” Simpson said. “Getting graduates to come back and put time and effort into the program. It creates stability, and shows younger kids that it is not the end after high school. Being a part of our program is something that they continue with. We talk about a basketball team being a family, being close, come back it shows that is something that is true.”
The former players helped coach in three tournaments and in practice. Lombardino said she enjoyed working with the younger players and gained a different perspective from it. She thought more about how to handle timeouts, what to discuss at halftime and how players were collectively playing on defense.
“Yeah, you notice the little things,” she said. “You notice things that you don’t notice as a player when coaching a game. It is little fundamental things, defensively and stuff. It is just different.”
While the team didn’t win as many games as it had hoped, the players won more games each tournament and gained invaluable experience.
“Yeah, it is fun to be a part of the program again,” Lombardino said. “I was happy to help out.”
Simpson said it was positive that his players return to coach.
“I think it is huge for the girls that come back,” he said. “It is an opportunity to work with young kids. It is a chance to be in a coaching role and see two different aspects of basketball. It also helps younger kids see older kids move through and onto college … see what it takes, and something to look up to.”