O’Donnell sparks Bobcats to hard-fought victory over Perry
Perry With 10 seconds left in Thursday’s game, Tanner Bowers went to the foul line with the game in doubt.
The Bobcats led 59-57 in the sub-state semifinal game, playing in a hostile environment where every possession counted.
None were bigger than this shot.
He stepped to the free throw line and drilled the first foul shot to give the Bobcats a 60-57 lead.
Basehor-Linwood coach Mike McBride called timeout to discuss last-second instructions. Bowers grabbed a towel and wiped his hands off. Out of the timeout, he walked to the line and missed the second foul shot.
From there, Perry-Lecompton took possession and attempted a 3-pointer. The Kaws got the rebound and took another attempt with Brad Phillips’ shot bouncing off the rim and out of bounds.
Basehor-Linwood survived to the next round and will play Tonganoxie in the Class 4A sub-state final at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Perry-Lecompton High School.
“I am proud of them,” McBride said about his team. “We exercised the demons of the last two years and fought hard to win the basketball game tonight.”
In doing so, Basehor-Linwood showed resiliency, having to rally from a 43-37 deficit in the third quarter. Perry-Lecompton’s Shane Gimzo drilled three shots from 3-point range to lead his team on a 12-0 run to start the third quarter. Chandler Schaake picked up his fourth foul during that stretch and went to the bench.
With Schaake on the bench, Basehor-Linwood worked to erase the deficit. On one possession, Richie O’Donnell drilled a pass to post player Colin Murphy who dropped in the layup.
A couple of possessions later, O’Donnell made a jump shot to tie the game at 43-43. PLHS took the lead on a Caleb Wege field goal. Colin Murphy made another field goal to tie the game.
Bowers closed out the scoring in the quarter by hitting a foul shot. BLHS led 46-45 entering the fourth quarter.
The early part of the fourth quarter was filled with missed shots, turnovers and clutch baskets.
Midway through it, BLHS went on a 5-0 run to take a 53-48 lead. The two teams continued to trade baskets during the quarter. Basehor-Linwood played with a five-point lead, but Perry-Lecompton refused to give in.
Trailing 57-52, Andy Bowman made a layup and drew a foul. He made the free throw to convert the traditional 3-point play. The score was 57-55.
BLHS began to work time off the clock and Anthony Pierce drew a foul. He made both foul shots to give his team a 59-55 lead.
Perry-Lecompton missed three field goal attempts at the other end, but eventually scored on a Bowman shot. The Bobcats had chances to make free throws and ice the game, but failed to do so.
With the ball and a chance to tie the basketball game, Perry-Lecompton turned the ball over when a player stepped out of bounds.
The Kaws were forced to foul and Bowers went to the line and drilled the aforementioned foul shot.
Basehor-Linwood survived to the next round against a gritty Perry-Lecompton team.
“Yeah, they are trying to salvage a rough season and almost did it,” McBride said. “They had maybe a bit of a rough year, but came to win. A lot of kids were on their football team that finished second in the state and there is a lot of pride on that team. They showed it tonight.”
The game was close throughout and both teams battled in front of a raucous crowd that never stopped chanting, chided referees on each call and cheering for their players.
Basehor-Linwood received a huge boost in the game from O’Donnell in the first half.
He led the Bobcats with 12 points, routinely catching the ball in the heart of Perry-Lecompton’s defense and scoring on taller players. He also hit jump shots. Basehor-Linwood early in the game looked like a team in need of a spark and O’Donnell provided it.
“I shook his hand after the game; he kept us in the game in the first half,” McBride said. “He made huge shots. That is the way he has been capable of playing all year.”
After the game, O’Donnell said he was determined to win. He didn’t want to let down the seniors on the team. In addition, he didn’t want to stop playing.
“I just did not want to go home,” he said. “I want to go to state. All of us have the same mentality; we do not want to go home. I felt more focused tonight than in other games. I wanted to go for our seniors.”
He also fed off the environment in the game.
“I loved that atmosphere,” he said. “There is no lull. You stay focused the entire time.”
In the first half, Schaake scored the teams first six points and had 12 in the half. While in the game, Schaake routinely made clutch baskets for his team. He missed time along with other players in foul trouble.
Perry-Lecompton worked the ball into Bowman who scored 15 points in the half and complimented him with a series of outside shooters.
BLHS led 24-17 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Perry-Lecompton outscored Basehor-Linwood 14-13. However, the Bobcats led 37-31 at intermission.
For the game, O’Donnell led the Bobcats with 15 points. Bowers scored 13 points and Schaake finished with 12 points.
Bowman led the Kaws with 25 points. Gimzo scored 13 points and Riley Shafer finished with 11 points.
With the win, Basehor-Linwood advances the sub-state final to play Tonganoxie.
“We beat them early in the year,” O’Donnell said. “But it doesn’t really mean anything. They will have a group of seniors on their team who just like us don’t want to go home.”