Sumner edges BLHS boys, prevents state title defense
Basehor-Linwood players fought for 32 minutes Saturday night for a trip to the Class 4A state tournament.
They battled for every rebound, contested each shot and ran offensive sets designed to score points and win games. On defense they battled to get position and attempted to draw charges.
Playing in one of the most intense environments that you will see for a high school basketball game, the Bobcats left it all on the floor Saturday night, but fell just short of a return trip to Salina.
Reese Holliday and the Sumner Academy Sabres simply had one more answer than the Bobcats on Saturday. Holliday scored 27 points and helped defeat Basehor-Linwood, 53-50, in the Class 4A substate finals at BLHS in a game was decided in the final minutes at the free throw line.
With less than two minutes left, Sumner led 48-47 with the ball and made one of two foul shots.
Basehor-Linwood’s Richie O’Donnell drew a foul and made the second of two foul shots to make it a one-point game.
Holiday drew a foul and made both shots.
Mark Vaca countered with a jump shot at the other end to make it a one-point game.
The highly anticipated matchup between the defending state champion and No. 1 ranked Bobcats and the Sabres, the No. 3-ranked team in the state, was living up to the hype.
A timeout was called after Vaca’s basket, and the standing-room-only crowd shook the gym during the break.
Out of the timeout, Sumner responded again. Holliday was fouled and made one of two foul shots. The second foul shot missed, but Sumner’s Davonte Chaney grabbed the offensive rebound and Basehor’s Ryan Murphy was whistled for his fifth foul.
Murphy, who had been a pivotal player on offense and defense throughout the game, left the Bobcats without one of their top offensive threats for the final seconds.
Chaney made one of two foul shots and gave the Sabres a 53-50 lead.
Basehor-Linwood had one more possession. As time ran down, Vaca attempted a 3-pointer, but the shot was no good as time ran out.
The late-game sequence ended a back and forth battle between the two teams.
Basehor-Linwood led 29-23 at halftime. The Bobcats had closed out the half on a 6-3 run.
They led by 10 points in the third quarter, but Sumner cut the lead to 38-36 entering the fourth quarter.
After Jake Hattock hit a field goal early in the fourth quarter, Sumner put together a 12-4 run to take the lead.
The Bobcats trailed the rest of the game.
Basehor-Linwood’s season was over. The Bobcats’ bid to defend their state championship was done.
Vaca tugged at his shirt at center court. Then the team gathered and accepted the substate runner-up trophy.
When they had received it, the players retreated to the locker room. Coach Mike McBride addressed his team and saw tears in his players’ eyes.
Dreams of a repeat were diminished. It was tough for the team to grasp the idea that a goal would be unrealized.
“They are crying because they put so much time into it, and they are crying because they were dreaming,” McBride said. “For the seniors, I hurt for them. I hope the underclassmen remember and use it as motivation for next year.”
McBride said he thought his players were in position and should have drawn charges, but few were called in the game. Other times a foul was called.
The close calls got Basehor-Linwood players into foul trouble and affected the flow of the game.
The team also missed foul shots late in the game that could have made a difference in the outcome, potentially forcing overtime if everything played out even.
In the end, Sumner clinched the state tournament berth.
In addition to Holliday’s 27 points, White scored 10 and Chaney finished with eight.
Ryan Murphy scored 14 points for the Bobcats. Richie O’Donnell scored 10, and Colin Murphy and Vaca each had nine.
The Bobcats ended the season with a 21-3 record. Two of those losses came to Sumner.