Piper girls edge Basehor-Linwood
Kansas City, Kan. Coach Noah Simpson has a list of things he wants his Basehor-Linwood girls basketball players to learn early in the season.
In a rebuilding year, Simpson has ideas of how these lessons can help the team develop. On Tuesday, a few were taught in a 34-31 loss at Piper.
“I thought we played hard for 32 minutes and played tough for 32 minutes, but I am not sure we played as hard as we needed to play,” Simpson said.
Simpson wants his team to play intense basketball for 32 minutes, and he wants players to quickly forget when a mistake is made and calmly move on to the next play. It’s been a slow process for a team with very few players that have extensive varsity experience.
Simpson is teaching players to control what they can control, and he said that philosophy will lead to improvement later in the season.
“We are not going to get any taller or stronger,” he said. “We can, though, get more mentally tough and learn to fight through adversity.”
He also knows that early in the season his team is learning to shoot the ball and how to play offense. The scoring will come as scorers develop within a 10-player rotation.
For all the lessons being learned, though, the Piper game was decided in the final minutes with Jamie Johnson and the Bobcats nearly overcoming a five-point fourth quarter deficit.
Piper led 22-17 entering in the fourth quarter, and Johnson opened the final period by making a field goal, and then following it with a 3-pointer to tie the game.
After the two teams traded a few possessions with missed free throws and turnovers, Johnson made another field goal to make it a 24-22 BLHS lead.
Piper later tied the game at 24-24.
Basehor-Linwood took the lead back when Maggie Hattock scored on a put-back. From there, Piper scored four consecutive points to take a 28-26 lead.
Basehor-Linwood, though, answered with a big play from Johnson. She made a steal, then stepped back beyond the arc and swished a 3-pointer that gave BLHS a 29-28 lead with 1:24 to go.
Piper answered with a bucket by Whitney Morrow to reclaim the lead, but Basehor-Linwood answered with a basket by Cara McCarty. The lead once again changed hands when Morrow knocked down a shot and gave the Pirates a 32-31 lead.
Still, Johnson nearly bailed out the Bobcats again. She made a late steal — her third of the game — and drew a foul. She missed both free throws, however, and then Piper extended its lead to 34-31 on a pair of free throws from Megan Wooley with less than 10 seconds remaining.
McCarty missed a half-court shot as time expired, ending a back-and-forth game.
With the loss, Basehor-Linwood (1-2) now has a week off before playing Topeka-Hayden next Wednesday.