Boys regain control in series; BLHS girls battle in loss

 

One Basehor-Linwood team made a point and the other ended the night with an exclamation point.

The Bobcats played host to a doubleheader Tuesday night to longtime rivals Kansas City Piper for the first time since both basketball teams were eliminated by the Pirates in last year's postseason.

For the BLHS boys, yes, the teams are different, but the result was more of the same that the Bulldogs were accustomed to prior to 2016, when they lost all three encounters to the Pirates, and reclaimed pole position in the series with an impressive 75-68 win over a younger, but still talented Piper squad.

The BLHS girls fell behind big early against an unbeaten Piper squad, but rallied late to at least make things interesting and add intrigue to the upcoming rematch in February, losing 49-41.

Leading the way for the Bobcat boys (10-3, 5-1), were Jacob Coleman who scored 30 points (and has scored 61 over the past two games), Connor Younger added 15 points and Kobe Sifford added 11 points in the BLHS win.

After a decade-plus long run of dominance over Piper ended last year, BLHS is back on top in the series.

“We know Piper is always good and that 11-year thing, that’s surprising to me,” BLHS head coach Michael McBride said. “We’ve had to scrape games out and so forth, they have a bunch of talent over there and we know they will always be more athletic than us. Anytime we get a win against a good team like that, we feel good about that, because we have to do all the little things.

“The sad thing is, the rivalry is over after this year - we will be 5A, they’ll be 4A. They will be coming to our tournament (next year). They got some good young kids coming up who can really shoot the ball. We could win 5A, they could win 4A the next few years.”

Let's just say 'wow' about the BLHS boys' offense as it exploded from deep and scored pretty much at will in the first half to lead 21-12 after eight minutes and 38-24 at halftime.

The second half definitely started off as one befitting a rivalry between two schools separated by approximately seven miles.

Piper extended its defensive pressure which brought the BLHS scoring prowess into check a bit and offensively, the Pirates created more space and got their boys into better 1-on-1 situations as the pulled within seven points.

But a big Coleman three-ball helped provide more cushion for the home team and quietly BLHS was back up a dozen, 53-41 going into the fourth quarter.

A lot of fouls and plenty of scoring kept the game interesting - and a bit too long - before the Bobcats would leave the gym victors.

“It feels great and I would just say it’s all Coach McBride and how our team has come together over the past 13 games,” Sifford said. “Our team is doing a better job of moving the ball around and playing good defense. It’s all about the pride (McBride) has instilled in our head.

“I can’t wait to see (Piper) again. They were young and had two senior shooters…we just need to focus on ourselves and not as much on them.”

The BLHS girls got 12 points from Katie Yankovich, 11 points from Lucy Lally and six points from Adell Gore.

The Basehor girls (6-8, 4-2) have desired so strongly to finally overcome the Piper Pirates, that one could see the effort put forth by the Bobcats.

“This team wants to make sure we never give up,” BLHS head girls’ coach Jason Tatkenhorst said. “It was 28-10 in the first half and honestly, we were doing some good things. Piper is undefeated and they are a very good team. We’d miss a shot, get a little shook and didn’t really play relaxed basketball. So we’d miss it or have a turnover. We didn’t quite take advantage of things we would have liked. We kept battling and battling and battling and the girls played hard, I don’t think they actually believed they could do it. 

“We got pretty close in the fourth quarter. I hope the girls understand that from this point on, we are going to work hard, we have several games to go. (For the return game to Piper) they are the real deal and play hard, so all we can really worry about is us and do our own thing.”

The problem is that Piper has the horses to fight back and they did just that, working their way to an impressive and solid, 28-10 halftime lead.

Piper scored the first six points after intermission, but once again the Bobcats would show their spunk, going on a nine-point run to make things interesting as they trailed 35-19 heading into the final eight minutes of play.

The momentum continued for BLHS as it continued to fight as hard as it could and pulled within 41-29 with 4:36 to play.

Piper's lead was whittled to 10 as Basehor's run increased to 21-9 to make the game anything but over.

A free throw by Lally made it 46-39 with :52.2 remaining, but ultimately the hosts just ran out of time.

“I honestly think we are the better team, but (Piper) doesn’t know that,” BLHS senior Carly Gore said. “At this point (Piper believes in itself more) and we need to believe in ourselves more if we are going to beat them and know that we can.”