The Basehor way/Player profile: Jacob Coleman
Michael McBride arrived on the Basehor-Linwood campus over a decade ago and life changed on the hardwood for the Bobcats.
McBride has taken the team to heights unparalleled in previous times at BLHS, winning two state titles along the way.
It is the Basehor way.
“The Basehor way is just about being tough, physical and being mentally strong to fight through adversity and get things through that are hard,” junior Nolan Ford said. “Tough is, you are in the game and you play 30 minutes and you have to fight through the last two minutes and play your best. Tough is diving on the floor for a loose ball, when there is a jump ball, taking it from the other kid.
“It’s about winning all the physical battles and being dominant.”
“It’s jumping out of bounds and working for every rebound you can get,” senior Zach White said. “It all starts in practice with Coach McBride and the atmosphere of what happens if we don’t do those things. We have consequences. We learn to want to. We learn to get every single ball, to dive on the floor, to get the rebounds, to do the extra things.
“I want to do it to better. Motivation for me and other people on the team is the competition aspect and saying I want to be better than the other team. I want to beat them. It’s a no mercy kind of thing.”
For McBride, he has found a way to carry the Basehor way forward yearly, but he faced some strong challenges earlier in the summer as the group of boys became much younger with the graduation of five seniors.
“We started the summer with five new starters and only two seniors,” McBride said. “The first Wednesday at summer league at Rockhurst High School was, well, not very good at all. We were selfish, we didn't pass, we jacked up shots, etc. We beat Truman in overtime while scoring 28 points and then Rockhurst’s No. 2 team beat us by 17 and we scored 30.
“But, this team was young and inexperienced so we went to work. We played at Pitt State and played 4A schools and Pitt High. We went 4-1 and lost to Pitt on a last second shot. So, we improved.
“Then, summer league arrives again. We play uninspired but find a way to beat Blue Valley North by one. We then get beat by Center by 20. We still had a long ways to go.”
Things began to turn around when the Bobcats entered the KAMO Shootout featuring a number of bigger programs.
“I wasn't expecting a lot, but all of the sudden, my young team showed heart,” McBride said. “We lost to Blue Valley North by one, but we played hard. We felt like we lost the game on some inexperience. Then, we played a very good Ozark team and beat them by 15. So, I knew (the next day) was going to be a test. Well, we beat Lawrence Free State by eight and missed 23 points worth of free throws. We then beat an incredibly physical Manhattan team by 12 and had to play Olathe South in back to back to games. We were behind most of the game, but found enough gas to come back, take it to overtime and get a win.”
They finished off the tournament crushing Mill Valley and losing to Oak Park by three, which ended the BLHS run in the quarterfinals.
Finally, the wrapped summer league with two wins and a 4-0 mark at the Northwest Missouri State camp and then went 4-0 at a National Qualifying Tournament in Shawnee before losing to a much bigger and talented squad by four points.
“It’s always a process, that’s how it all starts, but I think we’ll be good this year because we are starting to click this summer and working together,” McKnight said before the summer slate got really going. “Over the fall, I think we’ll become more of a team and be up there like all the other Basehor teams.”
These are some smart young men and McBride is at the wheels of this locomotive seemingly headed to more great moments.
“Out of all of my summers, this may have been my most improved team,” McBride said. “They were young, inexperienced, but they knew they were good. They just had to come together as a team. Well, these eight guys accepted each other. They accepted each others’ weaknesses, their strengths, threw their personal pride off to the side because I felt like they wanted to keep our Bobcat basketball winning tradition alive. And they did.
“They are tough, they play together, and they love to win. I know people keep waiting for us to fall our notch, and I thought this year may be the year we fall for one year, but these guys fought to get better. As long as this team stays healthy, they will be another great Bobcat basketball team and will talked about right beside all the other teams that have played here in the last 11 seasons.”
Ah, yes, the Bobcat way.
Player Profile: Jacob Coleman
It was a slow bubbling, a rising storm, the story of Jacob Coleman.
Last year, as a sophomore on the Basehor-Linwood High boys’ basketball team, Coleman moved from a nondescript player with potential early on, to suddenly becoming a go-to player who wanted the ball in his hands with a game on the line while surrounded by a number of senior teammates.
Coleman had arrived.
Now as he returns to the athletic arena for the Bobcats, Coleman is set to take off as he builds off the lessons learned a year ago.
“My teammates encouraged me to continue to play hard and coach kept telling me not to think about it so much,” Coleman said. “I just trying to adjust to the game. It’s different going from summer ball, to JV ball, to playing in front of your home crowd, people who have watched you your whole life.
“When I would go into my shot, I would be aiming and not shooting, letting it flow. Is it going to go in? I just needed to get in the flow of the game. (The turning point) was the Tongie game at home. We started pressing and I was on the top and I was getting steals and layups and started from the inside. I hit a 3-pointer where Jackson Sherley kicked it out to me. That’s where it all started.”
The idea of his turning point burns as bright as the sub-state final loss to Piper stings to the core.
“One free throw could have won us that game,” Coleman said. “(Coach said) that free throws would come back to haunt us and it really did. We just needed one more and it wouldn’t have gone into overtime. That really sticks with me.”
So what can Coleman do to help the Bobcats avoid the same result.
“I want to lead the team and make it better and not be about me,” Coleman said. “I want to see the team win and be successful.”
Coleman believes he is in store to show the fans some more milestones in 2017-18.
“I had my first dunk last year, but maybe a two-hand dunk, last year was only a one,” Coleman mused. “Maybe an alley-oop. Maybe someone will give me an oop?”
Coleman has played football for a while now, but believes his pursuit of basketball excellence may lead to him hanging up the cleats. He still will find other diversions to keep his normal kid routine intact.
“I am usually in the weight room getting better and stronger,” Coleman said. “I like to watch ‘The Office,’ the U.S. one. I like to hang out with friends and go swimming.”