Impromptu tourney turns out well for BLHS girls basketball
Coaches and players on the Basehor-Linwood girls basketball team said their goodbyes for the summer two weeks ago.
That is until BLHS coach Jason Tatkenhorst received a call asking if the Bobcats would want to play in a tournament at Bonner Springs.
“I had several days of notice,” he said. “Five days at least.”
Tatkenhorst couldn’t turn it down and promptly texted 13 girls to see if they wanted to play. They all said yes. He was prepared to text up to 10 more girls, but was thrilled the first 13 wanted to play.
He said they shut down everything for the summer and was worried this past weekend about the mental aspect because they went at a high intensity for five weeks. Tatkenhorst was worried about burnout.
Since the BLHS gym was closed starting on July 1, the only practice the girls could get was shooting in their driveway, going to a local playground or finding an open gym. And Tatkenhorst texted them to remind them to find their rhythm.
“We didn’t play like we had been playing in the last couple of tournaments,” he said. “We didn’t play that well. At the same time, we learned how to play even when it’s not our best night.”
The Bobcats went 3-2 overall and took second place.
“The girls played hard every possession,” Tatkenhorst said. “We kept the games close and ended up pulling some out. It turned into a really positive weekend for us.”
He didn’t coach them as hard as he normally would, given the circumstances — the team had two weeks off, including the Fourth of July, which is usually a family week. They lifted weights and conditioned, so he wasn’t worried about the girls being out of shape. His biggest concern was struggling shooting the ball since they improved vastly this summer. He didn’t want the girls to lose their confidence.
The Bobcats’ four seniors, Amber Garver, Alex Gorman, Courtney Payne and Victoria Smith, paced the team this weekend, but Tatkenhorst was impressed with juniors Sarah Ford and Alexis Nichols.
Ford and Nichols are coming off of ACL injuries, which sidelined the two last season. Ford, however, missed most of her freshman year tearing her other ACL.
Tatkehorst estimated they were 75 to 80 percent healthy. The two were cleared to play in the middle of May before summer basketball started.
He didn’t rush them into play, giving them more time each week. He said they improved their game each week that went by.
“I’m excited to have them back,” Tatkenhorst said.