Title gave city a boost
In 1984, both Bonner Springs and Basehor were enjoying the euphoria of real “march madness.” No, I’m not talking about KU or K-State, both of whom were NCAA contenders or the NBA Kansas City Kings featuring BSHS and KSU grad Eddie Nealy. The madness I’m speaking about was the Bonner Springs Braves and the Basehor Lady Bobcats both earning trips to the state tournament.
When the dust settled after a hectic week on the road for area fans, Bonner Springs had its only 5A state boys basketball title. The Lady Bobcats weren’t quite as fortunate, however, they rewarded fans with a third place finish in the 4A meet. To my knowledge, that was the only year that both schools qualified for the state tournament. Four years later, Basehor became “Basehor-Linwood High School” and both the boys and girls teams have been to state tournaments, however, they didn’t win a championship. Bonner Springs boys have qualified for only one other state meet, although they have reached the sub-state finals several times. The Bravettes have never made it to state despite several good opportunities.
The Lady Bobcats finished the year with a 19-5 record. Richard Haynes was the head coach and Brenda DeGroot was the assistant coach. Team members were: Kristin Jennings, Sue Haney, Suzette Spring, Shelly Burns, Michelle Johnson, Gayla Florence, Susie Nick, Laurie Sedlock, Becca Bell, Tracie Tripp and Chamile Shubert.
They won the Atchison sub-state and won the third place title with 39-36 victory against Council Grove.
Local cage fans remember the magical night in Emporia when the undersized and underdog Braves defeated Parsons, 56-55, on a jumper by Mike Martin with six seconds remaining. The game ended with high drama as Parsons threw a long, down-court pass and got off a shot from the corner, which missed as the clock read “00,” however, the buzzer didn’t sound, and there was a successful tip in the ensuing seconds. After a huddle at the scorer’s table, the shot was waved off, and a sea of orange and back engulfed the floor. The Braves ended the year with a record of 21-4. Carl Taylor was the head coach, and John Heckathorn was the assistant coach.
What happened after the championship was as exciting and unforgettable. There was celebration in the BSHS gym. Mayor Lindy Trent of Edwardsville and Mayor Reece Kuhn of Bonner Springs presented proclamations and Rep. Al Ramirez read a resolution by the Kansas House of Representatives.
The celebration was far from over. The Chamber of Commerce was sponsoring a Bonner Springs-Edwardsville night at the Kings game. We decided to go a step further and provide the 12 team members and coaches with a dinner at the Golden Ox. I was one of the volunteers who set out to get 14 individuals to each sponsor a player or coach. We were overrun with requests and soon had enough support to honor the entire squad, dance team and cheerleaders, who won the trophy for outstanding sportsmanship at the tournament. It was the easiest community event to sell!
The team was honored at the final home game this year, and it certainly brought back lots of memories of a cold and hectic week a long time ago. Team members were: Hughes Suffren, Mike Martin, Randy Reed, David Hall, Rob Stewart, Wayne Avant, Bruce Tyner, Brad Palmberg, Jeff Foster, Carlos Williams, Jerald Fletcher and Joe Sechrist.
What basketball success did for both Bonner Springs and Basehor was build community pride. While both communities are doing very well, I keep hoping for another state title to give civic pride another big boost.