Cruise controlled; BLHS girls roll in route to Saturday's final

The Piper Pirates are the modern day version of Gilligan’s Island for the Basehor-Linwood High girls’ basketball team.

No matter how many different ideas, approaches, mindsets and game plans the Bobcats have to get off the island, they still end up stuck there.

That’s Piper.

Well now, the Bobcats will have a third time in 2017-18 and sixth time in two years to get past their bogey team - the Pirates - and for the second consecutive season with a chance at the Class 4A-I state tournament slot on the line - when the two teams meet Saturday at 6 p.m. for the Sub-State Championship.

The game, set for Basehor-Linwood High School, was put in stone, when the No. 2 seeded Bobcats (11-10) broke away from a close first quarter contest in route to an easy 65-27 win on Thursday night.

Leading the way for the Bobcats were led by Katie Yankovich (15 points), Riley Tinder (14 points) and Lucy Lally (12 points).

“It’s the playoffs and everyone is going to give it their best shot and Aitchison, in the first quarter, gave it their best shot and made some plays,” BLHS head coach Jason Tatkenhorst said. “We are so much 

than they are and in the second quarter you saw that. We had fresh kids on the court, they don’t, and we took advantage of that. Our depth really got to them in the second quarter.

“We are long and we thought our zone press and our halfcourt zone would frustrate them…we did a nice job with that.”

Basehor only led 14-8 after one quarter after starting off in more of a recon-type of approach early on - analyzing No. 3 Aitchison (8-11) for the weak points the Bobcats needed to eventually exploit.

They would do that with a 23-5 second quarter explosion to lead 37-13 at the break.

“Our mindset washout coming out and playing as hard as possible because we knew it could be our last game and so I think the first quarter was us just getting ready and building up,” Tinder said. “We never played Atchison before so the first quarter was just us getting used to the them. The second, third and fourth quarter was just about us going out there and knowing their offenses and defenses and playing around that.

“Once we got our nerves settled and got into the game, we were just doing what we know how to do.”

It was all smooth sailing from there and for once, drama didn’t rear its ugly head as BLHS put the clamps down to record an emphatic win.

“We needed that game to see what the postseason looks like, because we have a very young team,” Yankovich said. “It got us ready and now we know what we can do, what we can improve on and what we need to improve on for Saturday to help us win the game. It made it a lot more stress free….we could trust each other lot more because we knew what we needed to be doing.”

So now? Piper.

What does a talented Bobcat team have to do to knock off an unbeaten squad that has had their number in recent years.

“We need a different mindset and know we are going to be playing at a much faster mindset than we have been,” Yankovich said. “We need to be ready to play good defense, because it’s been off and on this year, and execute on the offensive side as well. We need to take smart shots and not rush. It’s going to be a defensive game and mostly about turnovers and keeping the ball in our hands.”

Tinder knows the team has to believe it can win.

“We know when we look at Piper they are a tough matchup with really good components for their team and they’ve been successful in the past, it’s hard going into the game knowing we can win,” Tinder said. “We have to go out there and know we can match up really well and we have the team to do it this year.

“It’s going to be a really good game.”

“Now that we have experienced a round of playoffs, we have to come in Saturday and be relaxed and play awfully hard,” Tatkenhorst said. “We have to come in confident and play hard every possession. We know there is going to be adversity, but our whole team will have to pull through and keep fighting. Good things will happen.

“No one in the state gets to play them, but we do and we are looking forward to it.”