Wristen: Plenty of excitement in store on the court
The sound of basketballs bouncing began echoing throughout high school gymnasiums last week as winter sports practices officially began.
There’s a certain level of excitement that basketball season, in general, instantly provides for those of us who love the game.
High school football is at its best when it’s played on a Friday night so chilly that the hot chocolate supply runs low. Meanwhile, basketball season leaves the cold outside and offers the charm of sitting in a cozy gym with crowd noise ricocheting off the walls as a close game goes down to the wire.
This season, in particular, should be awfully fun for both Basehor-Linwood and Bonner Springs.
It’s impossible for Basehor fans not to be excited about the upcoming season, considering the Bobcat boys are the defending Class 4A state champions. That in itself is plenty of reason to mark your calendars and catch a few games.
There’s an element of mystery, too: Who will fill the void of losing starting guards Chandler Schaake, Anthony Pierce and Tanner Bowers and key reserve Justin Gripka to graduation? Better go to a game and find out.
On top of that, the Bobcats have a heavy dose of star power with sophomore sensations Colin and Ryan Murphy. The towering twins played major roles on the state championship team as freshmen. Both possess a diligent work ethic, and their offseason work should make them some of the most dominant players in the Kaw Valley League this season.
Is another state title run a legitimate possibility for this team? You’d better believe it with coach Mike McBride running the show.
As for the BLHS girls, the good times should continue in year number three of the Noah Simpson era.
Simpson is 38-8 in two years at the helm. The Bobcats won the Kaw Valley League championship and advanced to the state tournament in Simpson’s first year, and they placed second in the league and reached the substate finals last season.
Sharpshooter Bren Koontz and steady contributors Kara Douglas and Amber Jeannin are gone from last year’s team that went 17-6, but BLHS might be as deep as ever with Megan Bergstrom and Courtney Hooks back to play in the post along with perimeter threats Cassy Bever, Macyn Sanders, Amanda O’Bryan and Courtney Poe. The Basehor girls should be considered the favorite to win the league championship this season, and they have every reason to believe they could be playing in the state tournament in early March.
There’s lots of excitement in the gym at Bonner Springs, too.
The BSHS boys were the buzz of the KVL for much of last season with their run-and-gun offense that featured extra helpings of the 3-point shot. Don’t expect that to change much this season, other than the fact that the experience that the youth-laden Braves gained in 2008-2009 should allow them to settle into a more conventional offense when necessary and also be successful.
Plus, three athletic transfers will be in the mix this season, giving opponents even more to try to figure out about the Braves.
The Bonner Springs girls also had a roster loaded with young players last year. In fact, they had just two seniors. After taking their lumps for much of the season, they proved to be a difficult team to put away down the stretch as freshmen and sophomores stepped up to support all-around threat Lynsey Ostman.
Ostman is a senior this year, but she is surrounded by a team that should be vastly improved from a year ago and be a contender to finish in the top half of the KVL standings.
Bonner Springs opens its season next week, and Basehor will tip off Dec. 10. Games are right around the corner, and this season should be as exciting as ever.