The way of winners set to continue
When talking about local, prep, basketball, it is hard not to say Basehor-Linwood almost immediately.
These boys have found ways to win in so many different ways for over a decade and much of that has to do with the presence of head coach Michael McBride.
Fourteen years after taking over a nondescript program, McBride has pulled in two state titles (2009, 2012) and numerous Kaw Valley League titles along with plenty of state tournament chases.
With a dozen years passed since the Bobcats’ last losing season, don’t expect that to even come close to happening again as the Bobcats return plenty of talent from a 15-6 team that finished 10-2 in the KVL and were a handful of missed free throws away from another Class 4A-I state tournament trip.
Yes, they lost a number of seniors and all five starters, but plenty of the new faces have plenty of battle scars from playing a number of valuable minutes the previous campaign.
“For the first time in many years, we will be young,” McBride said. “We are looking for a couple of other promising sophomores to step up this year. Although we are young, this is a very competitive and solid group of basketball players. We can score inside, go to the basket, shoot the three, and this is one of the more basketball intelligent teams I have ever coached.
“We will be very good by the end of this season although we may take some losses this year, we plan to compete for a title at the end of this season.”
McBride said leadership could take time to mature while some of the roster will have to figure out how to compete at a varsity pace of play.
The BLHS projected starters include Zach White and Tuckker Johnson, both who logged quality minutes a year ago and juniors Nolan Ford and Jacob Coleman who came on big as the 2016-17 season progressed. Throw in Kobe Sifford and the team is confident in who they will throw out on the floor.
“I think we have a lot of good pieces,” Ford said. “We have a good post player in Zach, we have good shooters in Kobe and Jacob. With me, Jacob and Zach coming back we will be leaders for this team and lead it to some pretty high places.
“It’s about not making silly mistakes. Last year, we had a few tough games throughout the year, but last summer we didn’t get the same experience we had this summer where we played a lot of really tough games and had some tough losses and I think that will happen to us in all of our end- of-the-game situations.”
Some good depth will come from juniors Dylan Mussett and Jace Friesen while sophomore Connor Younger could provide one of the best shooting options McBride has called upon.
McBride believes Bonner Springs should be favored to win the final KVL crown, with Turner and Basehor right behind them, while defending champs Piper could be a darkhorse.
Last year the inability to come up big at the foul line really kept BLHS from bigger and better things, so the hope is that they learned their lessons well.
“We definitely use it as motivation and during the summer we knew what we had to work on,” White said. “Throughout the (offseason) we have seen improvement and now we are seeing a big improvement from the summer and have improved our skills.
“Our toughness is great, we are diving on the floor, we are moving as a team and we know each other’s skill set. So we have great chemistry. No matter what we are going to face, we know what to attack because we know what each one of us is able to do and we know how to rely on each other.”
2017-18 Basehor-Linwood Boys’ Basketball Schedule
Friday, Dec. 1 HOSTS Bishop Ward (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Friday, Dec. 8 HOSTS Hayden (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Tuesday, Dec. 12 at Bonner Springs (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Wednesday, Jan. 3 at Spring Hill (G 6/B 7:15 p.m.)
Friday, Jan. 5 at Tonganoxie (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Saturday, Jan. 6 at St. Thomas Aquinas, TBD
Tuesday, Jan. 9 HOSTS Lansing (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Friday, Jan. 12 at Turner (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Monday, Jan. 15 - Saturday, Jan. 20 HOSTS BLHS Tournament
Friday, Jan. 26 HOSTS LaBette County (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Tuesday, Jan. 30 HOSTS Piper (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Thursday, Feb. 1 HOSTS Hogan Prep, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 6 HOSTS Tonganoxie (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Friday, Feb. 9 HOSTS Turner (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Tuesday, Feb. 13 at Piper (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Friday, Feb. 16 HOSTS Bonner Springs (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Tuesday, Feb. 20 at Lansing (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Thursday, Feb. 22 at Bishop Ward (G 5:45/B 7:15 p.m.)
Tuesday, Feb. 27 Sub-State Playoffs begin
March 8-10 Class 4A-I state tournament