Bobcats to return to state tournament after 58-51 sub-state title win
Basehor-Linwood returns to state
The Basehor-Linwood boys basketball team clinched a return to the 4A state tournament with a 58-51 victory against Topeka Hayden on Saturday. Check out a gallery of photos from the game.
State brackets released
The Kansas State High School Activities Association released its boys and girls state tournament brackets on Sunday. No. 4 seed Basehor-Linwood will open the tournament against No. 5 Wichita Collegiate at 4:45 p.m. on Thursday at the Bicentennial Center in Salina. The winner will advance to play the Pratt/Coffeyville Field-Kindley winner at 4:45 p.m. on Friday. The state championship game will be at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday.
Bonner Springs When it was finally over and the Bobcats had sealed a 58-51 victory against Topeka Hayden in their 4A sub-state championship game, senior Colin Murphy just sat there.
He was still his cool self, still unemotional. He just couldn’t get up.
Cramps took hold after a consecutive night of postseason play. Colin Murphy put the team on his back to score 24 points — including 14-of-17 from the foul line — when Ryan Murphy had to spend much of the game on the bench because of foul trouble.
“I knew I had to be a leader and step up,” Colin Murphy said later, the sub-state trophy tucked under his arm.
Asked whether back-to-back nights of tournament play took their toll, coach Mike McBride left no doubt.
“It was a flat our war,” he said. “You’ve got to give our kids credit to come back and try to play 32 minutes again.”
The Bobcats (20-3) jumped out to an early 10-0 lead, increased that lead to 15 in the second half and never fell behind despite repeated surges from a team that had the Bobcats’ number at the beginning of the season.
The win avenged a second of three losses this season for the Bobcats. A chance at their third, Ottawa, is on the table in Salina. But first, the No. 4-seeded Bobcats must advance past No. 5 Wichita Collegiate at 4:45 p.m. on Thursday in the Bicentennial Events Center.
When the two teams last met, on Dec. 21, the Wildcats upset the Bobcats 63-59. During the game, Colin Murphy was held off the board in the first half. On Saturday, a surging Basehor-Linwood team — the Bobcats have won 11 straight since Jan. 27 — got 13 points from one half of their illustrious twin seniors.
“They showed me a lot tonight,” McBride said. “I have a lot of respect for what did all year.”
Less than two minutes into the second quarter, Ryan Murphy had to check out after he picked up his third foul. His absence allowed the Wildcats to play Basehor-Linwood close, chipping away at what was a 20-9 Basehor-Linwood lead after the first quarter.
But junior Ben Johnson forced a few key turnovers and added three points and sophomore Chase Younger scored four of his 11 points in the second quarter to keep the Bobcats ahead 34-22 at halftime.
Ryan Murphy picked up his fourth foul halfway through the third quarter and again returned to the bench until the fourth quarter — he’d finish with six points.
Topeka Hayden erased much of its earlier deficit in the third, limiting Basehor-Linwood to just three made baskets in the quarter.
And while the Wildcats outscored the Bobcats 29-24 in the second half, Colin Murphy and sophomore J.P. Downing sealed the victory by making a combined 10-of-13 shots at the foul line. Downing would finish with seven total points and sophomore Chase Younger scored 11, including the team’s only 3-pointer.
“Our role players played huge tonight,” McBride said.
Now with a chance at a second state title in four years, the Bobcats will field a team anchored by a few players still familiar with the taste of state success.
The Murphy twins and seniors Brad Waterman and Ryan Shaffer were freshmen when the Bobcats last won a state title, and while the twins played a role on that team, this one’s different.
“That first one wasn’t our state championship,” Colin Murphy said. “This one is ours.”