Basehor-Linwood girls eye state run next year
Youth-laden Bobcat girls amassed 17 victories in 2008-09 season
In a year where the term ‘body of work’ has become synonymous with basketball teams, Basehor-Linwood girls basketball players exceeded expectations.
“If you would have sat down with me at the beginning of the year and said we are going to go 17-6, I would have thought that would be a rough road to go,” BLHS coach Noah Simpson said. “We had a lot of new girls and young kids that stepped in and handled themselves really well.”
Basehor-Linwood finished second in the Kaw Valley League standings with a 10-3 record and lost in the Class 4A sub-state finals to Holton. Holton lost in the first round of the girls state tournament to Topeka Hayden, the eventual state runner-up.
The season followed a year in which the Bobcats went to the state tournament and then graduated four starters. In two seasons, Simpson has amassed a 38-8 record at the school. So what does he expect for an encore next year?
A couple days after the loss to Holton in the sub-state finals, Simpson began mentally preparing for next season. He started asking silent questions like: what can we do to improve, and how do we want to structure the summer program?
“Not a day goes by that I am not looking ahead to next year and thinking about what we need to be doing in order to make a run at the state tournament again,” Simpson said.
During the 2008-09 season, Basehor-Linwood played nine players and all but three will return next season.
The Bobcats will lose Bren Koontz, Kara Douglas and Amber Jeannin from this year’s team. They had played some varsity basketball entering the season and performed extremely well during their season.
“It was definitely a great senior class,” Simpson said. “All three started this season and it is a class you can say walking out it accomplished a lot and helped the younger kids grow and develop. We will miss them emotionally and what they brought us physically in games. Yet, we are excited about the younger kids we have who will have a chance to step up.”
The Bobcats expect big contributions next season from the six underclassmen who have varsity experience. Included in that list are Megan Bergstrom, Courtney Hooks and Cassie Bever.
In addition, Amanda O’Bryan, Courtney Poe and Macyn Sanders played well on varsity this season.
“We have a couple shooters and posts along with defenders who could make it difficult to defend us next year,” Simpson said.
Simpson said he is looking for big things from his team next season and expects enthusiasm for basketball to be high entering the summer. Most of the girls watched the Basehor-Linwood boys win the Class 4A state championship on Saturday in Salina and have dreams of being there next season.
“Next year should be a good year for us,” Simpson said. “Our kids were down at the state tournament last weekend and watched it all the way through. I spoke to some of them down there and they all realize that they want to go back. The kids want to go back. They are ready to get after it in the offseason to get ready.”
Basehor-Linwood will have individual workouts with players this summer. The team will hold its summer camp and then have players competing in tournaments and other games throughout the summer.
“We have a lot of talent running through this program right now and we have a lot of hard work to do if we are going to go in to reach that talent level,” he said. “It is important we get after it and focus on a few things to get ready for next year.”