McBride wants BLHS boys to get back to ‘having fun’ on the basketball court
The Basehor-Linwood boys basketball team ended its season with a loss in the Class 4A substate finals to Sumner Academy for the second year in a row.
The Sabres went on to defend their state championship, while BLHS ended an 18-4 campaign searching for answers.
Coach Mike McBride said it is the type of loss that can take a while to get over. Players and coaches spend so much time working to prepare for a season, placing expectations on what they hope will happen, that when it ends it feels like a balloon has just popped at a children’s party.
Then the questions start, beginning with what went wrong in the games the team lost?
McBride said he has thought about a lot of those things since the season ended.
For starters, the team played its best basketball of the year early in the season. The Bobcats were at their best in December and up through the Basehor-Linwood Invitational in January.
“I thought for 12 or 13 games we were the best team in the state,” McBride said.
Perhaps, the team’s best performance of the season was against Olathe East. He said that was one of the best performances he has been a part of as a coach.
Basehor-Linwood won its home tournament and then went into a slump with three losses, two to eventual Class 5A state fourth-place finisher Lansing and another to Mill Valley.
“We have won that tournament four years in a row and have never played well after that tournament,” he said.
During that stretch, opposing coaches figured out how to effectively play the Bobcats. Once Basehor-Linwood adjusted, it never quite returned to peak level.
“Our slip up came too late in the season,” McBride said.
Following a second loss to Lansing, Basehor-Linwood slowly improved, but it wasn’t enough improvement to dethrone Sumner.
One stark statistic stood out for McBride in the wins and losses. In the team’s four losses, it shot 41 percent from the field. In the 18 games that the team won, it shot 56 percent.
With the season complete, McBride said he has plans about how to shape next year’s team.
He wants to change some elements of the program. He also believes the team has to get back to playing its style of basketball. Instead of trying to be more athletic than every team that they play, the Bobcats have to learn when to slow it down.
“We have to slow it down sometimes,” he said. “We got to get back to ball control and possessions.”
One other change — Basehor-Linwood players have to enjoy the ride a little bit more. After certain wins this season, it didn’t seem like they enjoyed the victories enough.
“We have got to get back to having fun,” McBride said. “We have a lot of parents and kids, and the game needs to be fun. The last two years the game is not as fun at times. We have got to play to love game.
“We need to take it one game at a time. We have 20 regular-season games, so why not have fun? Why not work together as a team, play as a team and enjoy it.”
It has been a couple weeks since the season ended. The team’s is looking forward to the summer and next season.
Basehor-Linwood will play two tournaments this summer. It also will play in the University of Missouri team camp. The players will room together, hang out and play basketball together for four days. It should be a good chance to bond this offseason.
As for next season, Basehor-Linwood’s schedule changes a little bit. The team will play in the Hy-Vee Shootout and also against Sumner Academy and Topeka Hayden.
“Definitely we could have a losing record in December and be okay,” McBride said.