BLHS boys basketball team hits ‘rock bottom’ before home invitational
Lansing In less than 10 months, the Basehor-Linwood boys basketball team has gone from Kansas Class 4A champions to what coach Mike McBride calls “rock bottom.”
He says the past week has been a humbling one and that the Bobcats have a lot of soul searching to do.
He figured going into Friday’s game at Lansing that they would hit the bottom. He says it’s been a combination of off-court issues and things he hasn’t done right as a coach. Plus, needing to re-teach the offense doesn’t help either.
It started with the team losing key reserve Zach McNabb for seven games and a loss to Mill Valley.
After Friday, McBride might be right given the 59-41 shellacking to Lansing.
“I knew tonight in my heart, after being around it for 15 years that tonight was rock bottom,” McBride said. “We won’t get any lower than tonight. I think we have 13 games to get things fixed. This team isn’t any less talented than 2009, but the players, myself and coaching staff have to get it figured out.”
McBride realized, as a coach, that when teams win state, certain things work one year that may not necessarily work in the second.
The game, McBride said, would have been perfect for BLHS if it handled it the right way.
“They have to figure out their own identity,” McBride said. “We’re not last year’s team any more. The game is perfect in that sense. When you’re trying to turn things around, it is a good game.”
The Bobcats need to get their toughness back. McBride said it’s not fun when they’re in it, but if they handle it the right way, it’ll be fun at the end.
If he was being honest, he said he doesn’t have his team in the conditioning that they should be in. Luckily, Lansing isn’t either and didn’t play a full 32-minute game.
The Lions came out ferociously and took at 34-12 lead into halftime. By the end of the third quarter, BLHS had only 20 points.
Though it was too late, the Bobcats tried to save themselves from embarrassment, putting up 21 in the fourth quarter thanks to freshman Jahron McPherson, who scored all 10 of his points in that eight-minute stretch.
But BLHS couldn’t get much else going offensively. Junior Tim Sanders was the only consistent scorer with 14 points on 7 of 11 shooting.
The Bobcats haven’t had a full team yet this year. Senior Ben Johnson came back after missing the first five games with a knee injury. Now, with the loss of McNabb, they won’t be fully healthy until the final eight games of the season.
Johnson, who is playing more than McBride wants him to because he doesn’t want Johnson to reinjure his knee, scored six points. He’s still shaking off the rust, but McBride was pleased with his play.
“He stayed on the block all night,” McBride said of Johnson. “He did exactly what we told him to.”
Johnson would have had eight points, but the referees called off two made free throws after he stepped over the line on both shots.
McBride said he’s been shooting them that way for four years and has never been called for it.
“He’s 6-foot-5, 230 pounds and referees were talking to him all night,” McBride said. “The simple fact of the matter is he has such a presence on the floor that all three referees are watching him. It doesn’t matter if he’s shooting free throws or if he’s in the lane, everyone wants to watch him. He’s a great kid and he’s not out here to hurt anybody. He’s that much stronger than everybody else — he’s a DI football player — and he can move. He draws a lot of eyes on him.”