Child’s play: Freshman twins power Bobcats past Trinity
Salina For the first quarter Wednesday night it was clear that Wichita Trinity Academy was the state tournament veteran squad and the Basehor-Linwood Bobcats were the newcomers.
For the final three, however, it was the Bobcats who were clearly superior. They used a nearly flawless second quarter to take control of the game, trusted the steady hands of their upperclassmen and got a hefty boost from a pair of freshmen along the way to a 61-53 victory in the Class 4A state tournament quarterfinals at the Bicentennial Center.
Trinity — last year’s Class 3A state champion — goes home with a 22-2 record. Basehor moves on to the state semifinals at 8:15 p.m. Friday against Ottawa (18-6).
Twin freshmen Ryan and Colin Murphy combined for 28 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bobcats to victory.
“I didn’t expect anything less, really,” senior Chandler Schaake said of the Murphy twins. “They’ve been playing AAU ball. They’re used to all of this.”
Things didn’t go well early for Basehor. It made 4 of 10 field goals in the opening quarter, but four early turnovers were an indication that they weren’t very sharp. Meanwhile, Trinity made 5 of 12 shots in the quarter and had no turnovers. Senior Schaake was one of the lone bright spots early for Basehor as he swished a 3-pointer and made a layup. The Knights used a soft touch from 3-point range and mixed it up by attacking the basket off the dribble. Regan Billings did most of the damage, slashing to the basket for two layups and burying a trey from the corner as the Knights built a 16-10 lead by the end of the quarter.
“I guess you could say the first quarter was warm-ups,” Schaake said after the game. “I think we just brought in the whole ‘big gym’ kind of thing.”
With a quarter of a state tournament game under their belts, the Bobcats found their comfort zone. They switched from a man-to-man defense into a full-court press before dropping back into a 3-2 zone. The switch clearly baffled the Knights as they turned the ball over on their first six possessions and didn’t attempt a field goal in the first four minutes of the quarter.
“We’ve played man-to-man most of the year, so I’m sure most of whoever they talked to probably said we’d play man almost all game,” BLHS coach Mike McBride said. “That match-up press back to the zone worked for us.”
Boy did it ever. Not only did the Bobcats force turnovers, they used them to generate offense at the other end of the floor. Schaake buried a pull-up jumper and another 3-pointer. Then freshman Ryan Murphy went on a tear. He scored on a lay-in to give BLHS a 17-16 lead. The next time down the floor he swished two free throws to cap a 9-0 Bobcat run. After a layup by Trinity’s Brian Kempin, Murphy made another lay-in. Senior Anthony Pierce sank a trey on the next possession. Kempin answered with a 3-point play, but the Bobcats struck right back. Freshman Colin Murphy scored on a put-back. Then came another Knights turnover, followed by a Ryan Murphy bucket.
Trinity’s Matt Swank swished a 16-footer to pull the Knights within 28-25 with 58 seconds left in the half, but Ryan Murphy countered with a 3-point play. After a trey by Swank with 10 seconds left in the half, Pierce rattled home a jumper at the buzzer for a 35-28 Bobcat lead.
For the quarter, BLHS made 10 of 15 field goals and had zero turnovers while forcing the Knights to cough the ball up eight times. Another key factor was that Ryan Murphy scored 11 points in the quarter after being shut out in the first quarter.
Basehor came out strong again in the third quarter and built a 41-34 lead with 2:47 left, but Trinity closed the quarter on a 7-2 run.
Micah Swank converted a 3-point play early in the fourth quarter to give the Knights a 44-43 lead. Before the momentum could swing, however, Schaake pushed the ball the other way and connected with Ryan Murphy for a lay-in. That started a 6-0 Bobcat run. Trinity missed 11 of its final 13 shots while Basehor made 8 of 10 free throws in the final 1:42 to secure the victory.
“Our seniors have hit big shots all year long, and the only difference tonight was probably the freshmen twins got some offensive rebounds and finished inside,” McBride said.
Ryan Murphy scored 15 points and Colin Murphy had 13 to lead the Bobcats. Schaake paced the veterans with 14 points, Pierce had 9, Tanner Bowers scored 6, Clint Schierbaum had 2 and Richie O’Donnell added 2.
BLHS shot 52.5 percent for the game, making 21 of 40 shots. The Bobcats had just seven turnovers for the game.
Matt Swank led Trinity with 15 points and Micah Swank added 13. Trinity shot 43.9 percent (18 for 41) for the game.
Basehor improves to 20-4.