Basehor boys hold off Eudora for berth in finals
Ryan and Colin Murphy walked out of the Basehor-Linwood High School locker room and into the gymnasium on Friday pleased that the season wasn’t over.
They were happy the Bobcats had survived a Class 4A substate semifinal test against by Eudora and advanced to the finals.
Basehor plays Sumner Academy at 7:30 tonight at home with a state tournament berth on the line.
“As long as we win by one point, that is all that matters,” Colin Murphy said of the victory.
The Bobcats had a little more cushion than that, though, winning 42-37.
The Murphy brothers led the Bobcats in a physical game against a pesky Eudora basketball team with clutch free throw shooting at the end of the game. With the score 36-35, Colin Murphy made a pair of foul shots to give his team a three-point lead.
Eudora, though, answered with a field goal from Brian Katzfey. Rather than going for a game-tying 3-pointer, Katzfey dribbled into the lane and made a layup.
On the Bobcats’ next possession, Ryan Murphy was fouled. He went to the line and connected on both free throws.
Eudora couldn’t convert on its next possession. Out of a timeout, the Cardinals missed a 3-point attempt. Colin Murphy grabbed the ball, was fouled and went to the line. He made both shots and iced the game.
“It is what we needed for the team to win,” Ryan Murphy said.
The Bobcats showed poise and composure late in the game, coach Mike McBride said. The players benefitted from the difficult schedule they played all season and also from the experience of having played in a state tournament and other big games. He also said the foul shooting came down to determination.
“Again, that is a testament to how bad they wanted to win,” he said.
Eudora played the Bobcats tough for 32 minutes, playing a lagging defense that prevented Basehor-Linwood from working the ball inside on a lot of possessions.
On offense, Eudora ran a ball-control offense that was designed to limit possessions. The Cardinals stuck to their game plan and appeared to take Basehor-Linwood out of its offense midway through the second quarter.
BLHS led 20-10 at that point in the game, but Eudora slowed the game down and began to cut into the lead. The score was 24-19 at halftime.
In the second half, Basehor-Linwood led by 10 points in the third quarter, but was unable to put Eudora away.
Each time the Cardinals looked like they might falter, they rallied. The score was 36-34 in fourth quarter after Connor Scott made a 3-pointer.
The Bobcats, who didn’t shoot the ball as well as they normally do, scored a lot of baskets off of rebounds or missed baskets.
“We did what we had to do, got offensive rebounds and we scored a lot of points off put-backs and did not give up,” McBride said. “That is a sign of a team that wants to win.”
Ryan Murphy scored 15 points, Colin Murphy scored 11 points and Richie O’Donnell scored seven for the Bobcats.
Justin Ballock scored 10 points and Katzfey scored six points for Eudora.
The Bobcats now advance to play Sumner Academy in the substate final at 7:30 p.m. tonight at BLHS.
The game is a rematch of a game earlier in the season when Sumner Academy defeated Basehor-Linwood. Basehor is ranked No. 1 in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association’s Class 4A poll and Sumner is ranked third.
Having advanced to the substate finals, McBride said his team is in a position where it can go out and have fun.
“Now the pressure is off. A lot of times you are so worked up to get to that championship game, now they can relax and get after it,” he said. “Just go play. We have to come out relaxed and with a lot of energy. It is going to be a dog fight.”