BLHS girls basketball begins turnaround bid with summer ball
After suffering a losing record last season, the Basehor-Linwood girls basketball program has some lofty goals for the upcoming season.
The Bobcats finished 7-13 under first-year coach Jason Tatkenhorst and are looking to redeem themselves on the court, starting this summer.
Officially, the pre-season began the last weekend of May with the Bobcats participating in the Lansing High Lady Lions camp in Leavenworth, where the team went 3-3.
This past weekend, Tatkenhorst took 19 girls to Pittsburg State University for team camp June 12-14 and the Bobcats went 5-4 while there.
“We’re happy with our progress so far,” Tatkenhorst said. “We finished below .500 for the last two years and the first thing we are looking at is having a winning record and finishing in the top of our league instead of the bottom half.
“We know that we have some work ahead of us to catch these teams.”
In getting back into the swing of things, the Bobcats have barely taken a day off this month between camps and summer workouts.
“We’re not going to catch them by not being in the gym,” Tatkenhorst said. “I really think offensive players are made in the summer and that’s what we are concentrating on.”
The loss of senior Jamie Johnson to graduation last year left an offensive void the Bobcats need to fill. Johnson broke the school’s record in 3-point shooting and was often the team’s leading scorer.
“We got to find some other players and the first thing you do is try and look at the girls that are going to be seniors,” he said.
Seniors Amber Garver, Victoria Smith, Courtney Payne and Alex Gorman put in significant playing time last season and are expected to lead the team, along with juniors Marriah Clayton and Madison McDowell.
The sophomore class only lost two games last year and Tatkenhorst expects to put some younger players on the court.
“We’re trying to develop the players that can score baskets and that’s something you have to be in the gym working on everyday but right now our defense is outstanding,” Tatkenhorst said. “When they beat us, no one is blowing us out and the problem is we get beat by a few points or win by a few points.”
The Bobcats will finish the month playing in a tournament at Shawnee Mission North this weekend and another in Bonner Springs on June 28-30.
From what he’s seen of his team, Tatkenhorst said the girls are fully capable of having a winning record and finishing in the top half of the league to make it to state.
“First of all, you have to get into the gym and that’s what we are doing,” he said. “We know we have to work on fundamentals one day at a time and fortunately our girls have bought into what I’ve told them. They’re doing those things that in the past great teams have done and I’m confident that we are going to have a good year next year.”