A lesson in culture/Player profile on Carly Gore

The Bobcat girls’ basketball team from Basehor-Linwood High School is all about grit and toughness.

That alone has carried them to some very respectable results over the past few years as they and head coach Jason Tatkenhorst continue to look toward the promised land: the Class 4A-I state finals.

Last winter, the Bobcats finished as sub-state final runners-up and with a handful of key players gone to graduation, the BLHS ladies will have to retool with plenty of talent back.

“We are coming off a year where culture was our No. 1 focus and we were successful at improving our culture,” Tatkenhorst said. “Our improved culture continued through June so that is a plus. I'm hearing and seeing good reports about the weight room this summer. I'm hearing good reports of players doing basketball workouts on their own, something that we haven't seen a lot of in the past. I got a text from a player saying she got some shooting in while she was at the lake.  

“I've told the players that they need to take advantage of the months of July through October. It is exciting to hear players taking advantage of the off-season.”

The summer offers the players a chance to get to know one another and develop their individual games.

“We are trying to figure out what we are going to do in the season over the summer and work out the kinks really,” senior Katie Yankovich said. “We are trying to work on our motion game. We don’t work on any set plays really, we just try to figure out what we need to do and try to improve and see how it goes.

“There is nothing on the line, there is no state championship on the line, so I really enjoy summer basketball personally. I get to have fun because there is nothing at stake really.”

Sometimes the hot of summer can sneak into those stuff gyms, but it can make all the work worth it if they can find a way to get things right.

“Summer basketball is about focusing on what you can do to improve because in the winter it’s about working as a team and going somewhere,” senior Libby Stallbaumer said. “Our freshmen year we were kind of the newbies and we were trying to impress and make our mark (in the summer). Now that we’ve gotten experience, it’s more fun. I feel like summer basketball is more of a fun time to try to improve on yourself.”

The program’s growth is evident and now this new season is big in order to keep inching forward and maybe take a bigger step.

“We have a good group of freshmen coming in and that will help us a lot,” Yankovich said. “If we want to take that next big step, everyone is going to have to workout not just when we are in the gym, but also they need to work by yourself and make yourself better. Everyone on the team has to get better individual so we can come together as a team and be better as a team.”

That’s the idea for the next stage of the program, Tatkenhorst’s fifth.

“To go six, eight, 11 wins, that’s hard to do, now to go to get more than 11 is even harder to do, because we are asking the team to beat better teams and that’s really hard to do,” Tatkenhorst said. “We are asking our program to beat good teams and that’s the next step. I told the girls, we were 11-11 and we play the exact same schedule, which way are we going to go? We have girls coming back so we got it all going for us if we want it. It’s going to take practice time on your own and a great attitude in the weight room getting quicker, faster, stronger.

“They have to completely buy in and buy in no matter where we are at. If they do that, there is no question we can have a great season next year.”

The continual growth of the program over the past few years has led to the Bobcats continue to create more depth.

“We found out this summer that we have good players in each class,” Tatkenhorst said. “This is going to lead to a lot of competition within our program which is a sign of a good program.”

PLAYER PROFILE: Carly Gore: Sooner than later for Bobcat

It was just a bummer, plain and simple.

The little Carly that could – or in Basehor-Linwood High School parlance, Carly Gore – was doing her job as the energizer bunny full of toughness and guile before a knee injury ended her 2017 girls’ basketball season prematurely and also ruined the spring soccer season.

Now, Gore is on the road to recovery in hopes of being able to get back at it sooner rather than later.

No matter, Gore is there through thick and thin and could be seen at a number of summer activities supporting her teammates and being a moral support.

“It’s hard to watch,” Gore said. “It gets hard to sit on the bench and not be able to do anything. I am watching all the freshmen play and the sophomores moving up and I can’t do anything to keep my spot. I just have to watch them.”

If there is an athlete suited for a comeback of epic proportions, it’s Gore.

“Carly is such a competitor and wakes up every day and is doing some type of sport … and that’s been taken away from her,” BLHS head coach Jason Tatkenhorst said. “Now she has to compete against herself with rehab, which no one really likes to do. The ACL is not an injury that just repairs itself. You relearn how to jog, jump, sprint and cut and Carly has had to do it. It’s not just time that fixes that. She’s doing that. Hopefully with the timing of the injury she should ready by October feeling better. Then she will have to work through the rest of it so by November she is feeling good about it.

“Now she’s coaching on the sideline (during the summer), she’s a really good coach on the court and now she’s had to adjust. She’s a better motivator and communicator. She’s never really been injured so this is the worst you can have. When she gets back to playing and being clear, she’s going to realize that it is an awesome experience being able to play every day and make her more motivated.”

Gore is in the middle of therapy that should last through October when she hopes to be cleared to play sports and be ready for the basketball season.

“I feel like I won’t be in as good a shape as I usually am, so that will be hard for the start of my senior year,” Gore said. “It really (stinks) that I missed some of the basketball and the whole junior year of soccer, which is an important year. I don’t want to miss it again.”

The ordeal has changed Gore from the player she has been – a terrier that won’t give up ground – to also adding the experience of this adversity.

“I think I’ll be mentally motivated to get better and I want to be better than I was before,” Gore said. “I definitely think I’ll always be thinking of knee in the back of my mind even if I am not conscious about it. The way that it happened is something that you do every game – I just planted on it wrong and that literally can happen at any time. I’ll just have to get over it and play through the thinking of it happening again.”

Gore is a full-throttle athlete and her determination should get her back to form, but while she decompresses she finds time to do her own thing.

“I really like fishing with my family, my family is a big fishing family,” Gore said. “I may not be the best at it. … I like being outdoors and camping. I don’t do anything interesting. I watch Netflix a lot. I really like ‘Friday Night Lights,’ I’ve watched it eight times. I also watch the new ‘90210.’ Is the old one on Netflix?”