BLHS boys had successful season despite substate loss to Sumner
Basehor-Linwood won 20 games for the third time in program history, compiling a 20-3 record.
The team went undefeated in the Kaw Valley League. One loss came early in the year to Class 6A power Olathe East.
The other losses came to Class 4A state champion Sumner Academy.
The Bobcats only lost to the best in a season that coach Mike McBride said had a different feel for the Bobcats.
Coming off a state championship run last season, the team’s goal was to get back to the Class 4A state tournament in Salina and earn a chance to try to defend its title. For most of the year, the return trip looked plausible.
The Bobcats dominated Kaw Valley League competition, and lost just twice in the regular season.
The regular-season loss to Sumner — a double-digit setback in January — motivated the Bobcats for the rest of the season. The two teams were placed in the substate pool, and McBride said a lot of the team’s focus the rest of the year was geared toward getting better for a rematch.
The Bobcats also won the Basehor-Linwood Invitational with a close victory over Saint James Academy. The game came down to the final minutes, and Basehor-Linwood was able to pull out the victory.
After the loss to Sumner, BLHS won all of its remaining games in the regular season and earned the No. 1 seed in the substate tournament.
In substate competition, Basehor-Linwood turned up the intensity by winning its first two games and setting up the rematch with Sumner. The Sabres advanced to the final with an overtime victory against St. James.
In the end, Reese Holliday and Sumner made one more play than the Bobcats and qualified for state.
While they didn’t make the return trip to state, the team accomplished a lot this season.
“Record-wise it was a good year,” McBride said. “We went undefeated in the Kaw Valley League and made a run at substate before losing to the eventual champion. Overall, it was a very good year.”
Individually, Basehor-Linwood received some strong performances from its returning players and had others step up on varsity.
Entering the year, sophomore twins Ryan and Colin Murphy had big things expected of them. The pair had played pivotal roles for the Bobcats last season. The talented twins were dominant at times this year.
Ryan Murphy shot 71 percent from the field, scoring 14 points per game. He shot 75 percent from the foul line and averaged 7.2 rebounds per game.
Colin Murphy shot 60 percent from the field and 52 percent from the 3-point line. He shot 80 percent from the foul line and averaged 16 points per game. He was the team’s top 3-point threat throughout the season, and he set a school record with eight made treys in a victory against Perry-Lecompton late in the season.
In addition, the Bobcats developed a talented group of players around the Murphys.
This year’s senior class of players made tremendous progress during the offseason, McBride said.
Point guard Mark Vaca, who came off the bench as a junior, averaged six points per game and 3.5 assists. He shot 70 percent from the foul line.
Jake Hattock averaged 8.3 points per game and shot 48 percent from the floor. Richie O’Donnell shot 49 percent from the field, averaging 7.5 points per game.
The Bobcats also developed some depth this season and will return eight players with varsity experience, including Ryan O’Donnell, Evan Theno and Austin Stubbs.
With this season behind them, the Bobcats now turn their attention to preparing for next year.
All-Kaw Valley League selections will be announced later this week.