Despite early struggles, Bobcats never stopped believing
The Basehor-Linwood girls had every reason to pack it up early this season.
A 42-point loss to long-time powerhouse Saint Thomas Aquinas in the season-opener could have been psychologically damaging.
The Bobcats also started slow and lost to Sumner Academy at the Saints Classic. A few days later they went scoreless in the first quarter of a loss at Mill Valley. A lopsided loss to rival Lansing sent the Bobcats into winter break with a 1-4 record.
Their record was ugly, and an already short roster was whittled down even more when junior Amanda O’Bryan went down with an injury that would knock her out of action for two and a half months.
To some, it might have seemed like the only reason to keep showing up was because there were games on the schedule that needed to be played.
These Bobcats saw it differently, though, and that’s what makes this such a good story.
They had every reason to give up on the season just as it was starting, but they never lost sight of their goal. They never stopped believing in each other. Instead, they simply worked harder, gritted their teeth and kept pushing forward.
Adversity didn’t just come early in the season. Numerous players battled illnesses. Foul trouble popped up during the home tournament. Starting forward Cara McCarty came down with the flu late in the season and then promptly got injured after returning to the court last week.
Through it all, the Bobcats shrugged off the 1-4 start and won 15 of their next 18 games. They avenged losses to Sumner and Mill Valley and placed second in the Kaw Valley League. They won three games in a row at the Class 4A substate tournament — the last being a 46-37 victory Saturday against Baldwin — and accomplished their goal of qualifying for state.
Now the Bobcats laugh when asked about the early losses. They had their doubters at the time, but the girls knew better. They kept it all in perspective and saw the big picture.
On Wednesday night, they were slated to open the state tournament against defending champion Concordia. The Panthers entered riding a 49-game winning streak against eighth-seeded Basehor-Linwood. Win or lose, the Bobcats should be ready. They played tough teams before, and they beat some tough teams before. Anything’s possible at state; getting there is the hard part.