Basehor-Linwood boys earn key league victory at Santa Fe Trail
Basehor-Linwood remained perfect in Kaw Valley League play on Tuesday, and — barring a collapse the last three games — figures to win the league title for the third time in four years.
This win wasn’t easy. The game wasn’t a 30-point blowout where the clock runs continuously for the last four minutes or so. Rather, every foul shot counted in a 64-60 road win against second-place Santa Fe Trail. The game all but assured BLHS of the league championship as it took a two-game lead in the KVL standings with three games remaining.
Ryan O’Donnell made four of six foul shots late in the fourth quarter to clinch the game, capping a wild second half on a night when a lengthy road trip made everything seem tougher.
“It was a big game for him,” coach Mike McBride said of O’Donnell. “They fouled him and then he stayed focused at the end to win it.”
The Bobcats led by seven points at halftime, and then built a 16-point lead in the third quarter.
Santa Fe Trail cut the lead to 10 points at the end of the period.
In the fourth quarter, referees called a lot of fouls on Basehor-Linwood players and few against Santa Fe Trail players. The Chargers successfully cut into the Bobcats’ lead by making foul shots.
Late in the quarter, Basehor-Linwood led 60-54 when Colin Murphy was whistled for fouling a Santa Fe Trail player who was attempting a 3-pointer. The Bobcats were also whistled for a technical foul on the play, giving the Chargers five foul shot attempts.
Santa Fe Trail made four of the five foul shots and cut the lead to 60-58.
SFT took possession after the free throws with a chance to tie the game, but Basehor-Linwood didn’t allow a score on the possession.
O’Donnell was fouled when the Bobcats were on offense the next few possessions, and his free throws gave the Bobcats all the breathing room they needed to finish the job.
McBride said the adversity in a tough road environment was good for his team.
“I was proud of the kids. We had foul trouble all night long,” he said. “To fight through it and come through with a win shows how bad they want to get better. It is one of those games where I am proud of the kids and how they fought through stuff tonight. I am proud of the kids, but just a little upset at the game in general. The kids played through a lot of adversity. I was proud of them.”
Colin Murphy led the Bobcats with 19 points. Jake Hattock scored 11 and Mark Vaca added 10.
The game should help the team prepare for substate, McBride said.
“We needed a close game like that before substate. We had to fight through adversity, which was good,” McBride said. “Santa Fe Trail is a good team, and they only have three losses for a reason. When you go to someone else’s place that is trying to go from worst to first and win, it is a tribute to how our kids played. They had nothing to lose, and we knew we were going to get their best shot.”
The Bobcats’ substate is shaping up as a tough one with three teams ranked in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association’s Class 4A poll.
Basehor-Linwood, 15-2 (10-0 in the KVL), is No. 1 in the poll. Sumner Academy is ranked No. 3 and St. James Academy is No. 10.
In addition, three other teams have records at .500 or above.
Basehor-Linwood plays Turner (6-12, 2-9) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home.