New-look Bobcats prepare for title defense during summer hoops competition
KANSAS CITY, MO. – Over the past 15 years, Basehor-Linwood coach Mike McBride has learned that championships come from the players and the work they put in during the offseason.
McBride looked at his team before this weekend’s KAMO Shootout. These Bobcats were fresh off a 4A state championship but without the presence of graduated seniors Colin and Ryan Murphy. One of the two soon-to-be seniors, Ben Johnson, hasn’t been able to play because of a broken finger he suffered during football workouts.
If this team of somewhat limited size and experience wants to continue the impressive run that Basehor-Linwood has experienced over the past few years, what happens after these next few weeks is crucial.
“I tell them, ‘it’s your ring,’” McBride said. “’If you want to work on it, you can. If you don’t, you can go home and sit on the couch.’”
McBride is doing the best with what he has right now, using every opportunity to coach his team that the state will allow. The Bobcats played six games over a three-day span at the KAMO Shootout this weekend before forfeiting in Sunday’s tournament because of a scheduling conflict.
On Friday and Saturday, the Bobcats went 1-4 at Shawnee Mission West in games that determined the seedings for Sunday’s single-elimination tournament. They played Topeka High in the first round, held at Rockhurst High School, and used a 16-3 run at the beginning of the second half to win, 40-39.
However, McBride said, the team had to get to a camp in Missouri and consequently couldn’t play the rest of the day.
Before he and his team headed out, McBride said the Bobcats had learned a lot from playing mostly 6A schools this weekend. He has a list for the players on what to work on when they return to AAU ball, but effort isn’t on there.
“You don’t hear me over there yelling about working hard,” McBride said. “So they played six games over the last couple of days and they know they’re about to go play 12 more. And they aren’t hanging their heads.”
The face of the Bobcats is changing again. With the stalwart Murphy twins going off to play basketball at Emporia State next year, Johnson and Matt Ogilvie are the only seniors. Juniors Chase Younger and J.P. Downing are going to return for even bigger roles, but this junior-heavy class has more unseen potential.
McBride said to watch for Tim Sanders, who is rapidly improving, and for Avery Fliger, Broc Lindsay and Sean Potter to finish out the rotation.
“That’s basically what we’re looking at right now,” McBride said.