3-peat is sweet for Bobcat boys
The game started nearly an hour late, but it was worth the wait.
The Basehor-Linwood boys basketball team held off St. James Academy, 54-50, in a thriller Saturday night as the Bobcats captured their third straight Basehor-Linwood Boys Basketball Invitational championship.
The victory was anything but easy, and BLHS coach Mike McBride said it was his squad’s best effort of the season.
Likewise, McBride said this was the first real close game the team has played this season. Even in defeat, the games haven’t been close. McBride said the victory showed that his team could go out and fight to win a game.
Basehor-Linwood made critical shots down the stretch, and St. James failed to capitalize on enough opportunities as the Bobcats prevailed.
McBride said his team has improved since losing to Sumner Academy two weeks ago, and he liked the way his players performed during the tournament.
Players said the game had a postseason feel to it.
“It felt like a substate atmosphere out there tonight,” BLHS sophomore and Tournament MVP Colin Murphy said.
Murphy was a difference maker for the Bobcats.
BLHS trailed 12-10 after the first quarter, but it built a 30-24 halftime lead as Murphy poured in 11 second-quarter points. Still, it wasn’t enough to shoo away St. James. The Thunder battled back and led late in the game.
That’s when Murphy stepped up again.
Trailing 50-46 in the fourth quarter, Murphy drilled a 3-pointer with three minutes left.
“The kid (guarding me) was talking a lot of trash and I wanted to put it in his face,” Murphy said.
The basket cut the Thunder’s deficit to one point.
Moments later and with no change in score, Murphy was fouled. He went to the line and made both shots, giving his team a 51-50 lead.
Neither team scored for a couple possessions. Then senior Mark Vaca was fouled with 58.5 seconds left and timeout was called.
As the teams huddled, the crowd in the arena went wild. Through it all, Vaca stayed calm.
After the timeout, he stepped to the foul line and drilled the first shot. Vaca received the ball back from the referee, took three dribbles and swished the second shot.
“I am a senior and it is my job to help the team,” he said. “My job is to be composed and hit the big shots when I am needed. They are a good team and we had to fight to get the win.”
Basehor-Linwood led 53-50 and went to work on defense. The Bobcats didn’t allow another score the rest of the game.
Ryan Murphy tacked on a late free throw.
Colin Murphy finished with 21 points and Vaca added 10. Clint McCullough led the Thunder with 25 points.
To reach the finals, Basehor-Linwood defeated Holton, 64-58 in their tournament opener. The Bobcats then downed Platte County, Mo., 79-60, to advance.
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