City of champions
Basehor-Linwood disposes of Tonganoxie, earns long awaited trip to state
PERRY — Basehor-Linwood erased years of frustration Saturday night with a 68-50 victory over Tonganoxie in the Class 4A sub-state championship game at Perry-Lecompton High School.
“It makes it all worth it,” assistant coach Chad Harvey told head coach Mike McBride after the game before they addressed the team.
“Yeah, it does,” McBride replied.
The Basehor-Linwood coaches shared a few other words. Former players who had been part of the struggles congratulated them. Some held the trophy.
“You are a big part of this,” McBride told them.
This win was for the current players and those who had come before them. The trophy belonged to the community.
“It is hard to put into words what this means,” McBride said. “This goes to every one of our players who has played for me and us here. In 11 years, I have had some overtime losses and two-point losses in the sub-state title game. It is nice to get over the hump.”
A couple of current players who had lived through the past frustrations led the Bobcats to the victory and title in their final sub-state tournament.
Senior Tanner Bowers led the Bobcats with 17 points and Chandler Schaake finished with 15 points.
The Bobcats changed the complexion of the game from behind the arc.
Bowers had struggled shooting the basketball during the first half, but he made three shots from 3-point range in the fourth quarter and 12 points down the stretch to help the Bobcats clinch the game.
“Tanner Bowers hitting those 3-point shots really helped us win the game,” McBride said. “We had a lot of kids that handled the ball in that quarter and when that happens we are pretty hard to beat. We also hit free throws probably better than we had all year.”
Bowers hit two of the treys early in the quarter, but was matched shot for shot by Tonganoxie’s Jeremy Carlisle.
Bowers made one more 3-pointer, which gave the Bobcats a 56-42 lead. Tonganoxie cut the lead to 10 points later in the quarter, and Basehor-Linwood played a majority of the final stanza with a double-digit lead. Bowers made a trio of foul shots down the stretch as the crowd mixed in chants of “on to state” and “state-bound.”
With 18 seconds left, Schaake held the basketball in his hands. The players stood on the court. Fans of both teams cheered loudly.
Bobcats fans were elated about a trip to state. Tonganoxie fans were saluting their team, applauding four quarters of tough gritty basketball from their team.
After trailing 6-0 early in the first quarter, Basehor-Linwood went on a 17-5 run to end the quarter.
Schaake hit a trio of 3-pointers in the quarter. Richie O’Donnell scored four points in the quarter. Basehor-Linwood led 17-11 entering the second quarter.
“I think we came out a little tight under the lights and he hit those shots that got us in the game,” McBride said. “Chandler Schaake hit some huge threes.”
In the second quarter, Tonganoxie cut the lead to 19-16. From that point, Basehor-Linwood’s defense took over, forcing turnovers and limiting the Chieftains’ second-chance opportunities.
Basehor-Linwood concluded the quarter on a 12-6 run and led 31-22 entering the third quarter. The Bobcats were 8-for-9 from the foul line during this stretch of play.
The third quarter was a virtual push between the two teams. Tonganoxie missed close shots that might have cut the deficit in the game. BLHS had different players answer the missed shots by chipping in baskets. Ryan Murphy, Clint Schierbaum and Justin Gripka made field goals during this stretch of play. Basehor-Linwood led 47-34 entering the fourth quarter.
Foul shots played a pivotal role in the game. Basehor-Linwood made 17 of them.
The Bobcats also were balanced in the game as nine players scored. In addition to Schaake and Bowers, O’Donnell scored 8 points, Ryan Murphy had 7, Clint Schierbaum had 5, Justin Gripka scored 5, Anthony Pierce had 5, Colin Murphy scored 4 and Mark Vaca added 2.
Tonganoxie had ample scoring opportunities throughout the game, failing to capitalize on enough of them. Austin Smith led the team with 16 points. Keaton Schaffer scored 14 points.
With the win, Basehor-Linwood advances to the Class 4A state tournament in Salina.