February 9, 2013, 7:33 a.m. Updated: 11 February 2013, 11:38 a.m.
This Bonner Springs boys basketball team knows it’s not going to blow out many teams. It’s too young and it slows the game down too much for that.
But by making the zone defense a mainstay in its gameplan a few weeks ago, Bonner Springs (8-9, 4-7) was able to squeak out a 43-42 victory against Basehor-Linwood (9-7, 7-3) Friday night.
"We said let's stick with it and let's see if we can't take teams out of what they want to do by doing what we do best," Bonner Springs coach Dan Streit said.
It started a few weeks ago when the Braves started playing a zone against Piper, holding them to one of their worst shooting percentages of the season at 33 percent. It muddied the game up and took Piper away from everything the Pirates wanted to do. It worked against other teams, too.
They can still play man-to-man if needed, but Streit decided that this could be the Braves’ identity.
Basehor-Linwood coach Mike McBride said this was the first zone his team had seen all year and they still played well against it. Of course, the zone only works if the other team isn’t making shots, and a lot of that is luck. That’s why the Bobcats appeared worse than they actually were.
"I had an old assistant who told me a long time ago,” McBride said, “you make shots you look good, if you miss shots you don't look good. I thought that was the case tonight."
After a heart-pounding display of turnovers and free throws, Basehor-Linwood had the ball with 14 seconds left and needed a field goal to win. Bonner Springs’ Logan Terrell swiped the ball away before anyone took a shot and the Braves avoided a late-game collapse in a thriller of a game.
Braves senior Austen Twombley had a game-high 17 points. For Basehor-Linwood, juniors Chase Younger and Zach McNabb each led with 11 points.
This matchup between the teams was entirely different from the first meeting, which the Bobcats won 65-48. Younger, who went off for 39 points in their first meeting, started Friday 0 for 7 from three-point territory. It could have been a different game if a couple of those went in.
"I saw one of the assistant coaches in the parking lot and I told him good game,” Streit said. “He said, ‘Not for us but you had a lot to do with that.’”
Bonner Springs will head to Mill Valley Tuesday to try to avenge a 22-point loss from earlier this season. With the focus now on zone defense, Streit thinks it’s possible to eliminate the athleticism of Mill Valley’s players, much like it did against Basehor-Linwood.
The Bobcats will try to recover versus Lansing on Tuesday. With the injuries and Ben Johnson leaving the team to prepare for his college football career, McBride said this has been an interesting year for Basehor-Linwood. Even though the record doesn’t have its usual sheen, the goal is still the same.
"Right now we're 9-7,” he said. “These guys are fine. Our whole job is to get to state."
Originally published at: http://www.basehorinfo.com/news/2013/feb/09/blhs-boys-fall-43-42-bonner-springs/