Basehor-Linwood girls edge St. Teresa’s in thriller
On the way home from Basehor-Linwood’s season-opening girls basketball game Tuesday night, BLHS coach Noah Simpson couldn’t help but reflect.
“I was thinking about how this time last year we were coming off a 42-point loss to St. Thomas Aquinas,” Simpson said with a chuckle. “This feels much better.”
It was a different STA — the Bobcats played at St. Teresa’s (Mo.) Academy — and a much better result as Basehor-Linwood earned a 38-37 victory.
Simpson was happy with the victory, but he was more impressed with his team’s resilience. Season-openers are never flawless, but Simpson said his team overcame mistakes by responding promptly and positively.
“There were times we made mistakes that are uncharacteristic of what we do, but we did a nice job bouncing back on the next play and making it up,” Simpson said. “I’m happy with the outcome, and I’m happy about the things we did. I thought we did a good job.”
The game was close throughout, but St. Teresa’s kept BLHS at arm’s length during the first half. The Stars led 10-7 after the first quarter and maintained their advantage at halftime when they held a 19-16 lead.
“I told the kids at halftime, I said ‘Guys, I don’t care if we go out and outscore them 4-0 in the second half; this is a hard place to play, they’re a good team and we knew they would test us. This is what we want, and we want to go out and get a W,’” Simpson said.
The game remained close throughout the second half, but a small run bolstered the Stars’ lead to six points early in the fourth quarter.
After a missed free throw by St. Teresa’s, Basehor-Linwood stormed back and tied the game.
“I saw it in the kids’ eyes that they were ready to take control and win the game,” Simpson said.
BLHS held a one-point lead with 35 seconds to go, but a Bobcat turnover resulted in St. Teresa’s inching ahead, 37-36. Basehor-Linwood promptly called a timeout, and Simpson told his team to run the same play — an isolation to forward Megan Bergstrom. After pushing the ball down the court, point guard Courtney Poe lobbed the ball inside to Bergstrom for a bucket and a 38-37 lead with 12 seconds to go.
The Bobcats weren’t in foul trouble, so they used a series to fouls to disrupt the Stars’ final possession. A shot at the buzzer went halfway down and popped back out, and the Bobcats held on.
“This game definitely made us a lot better, which is exactly what we wanted,” Simpson said.
Bergstrom led BLHS with a game-high 15 points; Poe scored 7; Cara McCarty had 4; Amanda O’Bryan and Shelby Equels each scored 3; and Jamie Johnson, Macyn Sanders and Bailey Hooker each chipped in 2.
Caroline Gray led STA with 9 points on three 3-pointers, and Simpson credited McCarty with slowing Gray down.
“Defensively, Cara was an absolute stud,” he said. “They’ve got a kid, Caroline Gray, who’s a really good 3-point shooter. She hit a few, so we went to a diamond-and-one. I put Cara on her and (Gray) didn’t score again.”
Basehor-Linwood (1-0) next plays at 6 p.m. Friday at home against rival Tonganoxie (0-0).