Seniors made lasting impact on Bobcats
SALINA — In the wake of Basehor-Linwood’s season-ending loss to defending champion and eventual state runner-up Concordia, it’s easy to want to turn the focus immediately to next season.
Eight of the 10 Bobcats on the roster will be back, including most of the team’s top scorers. The 2010-2011 Bobcats will be loaded with both talent and state experience, and plans already are being made for a return trip to Salina for the Class 4A state tournament.
Still, before looking too far forward, it is important to pause and appreciate the present team’s accomplishments and how they got so far despite the odds stacked against them.
From having a former starter and another experienced guard opt not to play this season, to having a key reserve miss the majority of the season with an illness, to having a starter knocked out with an injury late in the season, to numerous other obstacles beyond their control, the Bobcats stayed united as a group and never lost sight of their ultimate goal.
In the end they overcame everything, made it to state and nearly dethroned the defending champs.
While so much of the team’s success can be attributed to the performance of younger players such as leading scorer Megan Bergstrom, 3-point threat Courtney Poe and defensive stalwart Shelby Equels — the team’s silent assassin from beyond the arc on numerous occasions, — or energetic freshman impact player Jamie Johnson, it is undeniable that the level of success attained by the Bobcats would have been impossible if not for the constant contributions of seniors Cassy Bever and Taylor Johnson.
With a young team that faced so much adversity, coach Noah Simpson was quick to credit Bever and Johnson with doing the little things necessary to keep the team on track and focused.
Both seniors filled various roles for the Bobcats throughout the season.
Bever was known for hitting 3-pointers when the Bobcats needed them most, and she provided a tremendous boost with her rebounding during the game at state.
Johnson was a reliable ball-handler and a smart passer, but her greatest impact on the court came as a tough defensive player. She was part of the first line of defense in the Bobcats’ feisty full-court trapping press, and she was an aggressive on-the-ball defender. In fact, she played a major role in helping hold Concordia’s Karly Buer — arguably the best guard in the state — to just 11 points (nine below her average) in the state game.
Ultimately, it was the success of this season — and the impact that Bever and Johnson made while leading the team — that allows us to now look toward next season and talk about BLHS competing for a state title.