Members of the Basehor-Linwood and Wellington boys basketball teams shake hands after the game.

Photo by: Cassie Batesel

State Tournament Day Two: From the Eyes of the Participants

March 13, 2015

In addition to traditional coverage of the events of this week, we at The Express wanted to provide a unique perspective on the tournament – through the eyes of the participants themselves. After each game, we’ll provide you firsthand accounts of what went down – straight from the athletes, managers, fans, cheerleaders, and band members.

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Preseason Goals Realized With Win Over Ottawa

Preseason Goals Realized With Win Over Ottawa

Way back down in the fall as the left over  jack-o-lanterns melted into our front doorsteps and our Basehor boys sweated through tryouts and early season practices, I assume our coaches and coaches all over the state scrawled goals for the fledgling season on chalkboards in locker rooms.

“Win State” was on chalkboards as a key goal for many. As I prepared to leave work early Friday, it was in the back of my mind.

Many schools have fallen off and will not realize that goal. State level basketball is a distant dream for many teams, but it is a reality for Basehor once again. Each trip to Salina is to be savored, memories that will be part of the local folklore.

I have been around high school sports my whole life but never knew the sweet taste of a state championship until 2009 as another team with a pair of promising young twins captured lightning in a bottle as freshmen.

Our superstitions began that year and continue on to this day. As it was that first year and again in 2012, we clung to our cliché superstitions and attempted in some small way to do our part to bring home the title.

I will wear the same old long-sleeve Basehor-Linwood basketball shirt to all this weekend’s games ( I will wash it, I’m superstitious, not unkempt). We will haunt the same restaurants and hang out with the same families.   The Bobcat roster may change year to year but these time tested practices have yielded strong results in the past.

So with all the lucky talismans and lucky T-shirts loaded in the car, the Sherley family and what seems like all of Basehor loaded into our rides and went westbound to Salina to finish our work, to come one step closer to fulfilling that team goal from the chalkboard, win state.

The time for Friday night’s game arrived and Basehor battled their old familiar foe – Ottawa. Opening quarter jitters again led to a small lead for the Bobcats as the second quarter began, and we would never relinquish it. At various times throughout the game we built leads and enjoyed as much as 20-point advantages.

I hope someone remembered to turn out the street lights when they left town, because Basehor must have been a ghost town Friday night.”

— Parent Jim Sherley

The student section was in postseason form and carried the crowd tempo bolstered by the additional fans who came out. I hope someone remembered to turn out the street lights went they left town, because Basehor must have been a ghost town Friday night. In the end, the Bobcats gathered in the needed win to advance to Saturday night’s state title game.

Jahron McPherson paced the game with an arsenal of shots that made him our high point man. But on a night when total points equated to another undefeated step in the tournament, our whole team took that step together. We will kill time until Saturday’s game time, eat at the same old place, chat with the same old folks, and head back to the Bicentennial Center for the final.

And what the heck , if time allows I will wash that old t-shirt. Go Bobcats!

 

 

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Team Effort Propels Basehor-Linwood to Championship

Team Effort Propels Basehor-Linwood to Championship

I can usually tell how a game is going to go by the way my husband comes home from practice the day before.  When he walked in the door after their Thursday practice, I knew our boys were ready and I was confident we would come away with the win against Ottawa.

There are so many great things about this team, but what makes us such a scary opponent is the fact that we have proven time and time again that any one of these guys can step up and carry the team offensively…and we know they all bring it on the defensive end.

I could go through and name at least one game that each of the top eight have stepped up on offense, which makes us so very difficult to scout.  Tonight, Ottawa’s game plan was to shut down Pat.  So they packed it in and made us beat them by knocking down shots outside.

Ottawa, let me introduce you to Jahron McPherson.  He will be the one to take that task on, and happily knock down those shots.  Jahron shot with amazing confidence, and his teammates had confidence in him as well.

Ottawa, let me introduce you to Jahron McPherson.”

— Shelby McBride

This team is so unselfish and will gladly feed whomever has the hot hand.  Jahron certainly didn’t do it by himself…Joe Gorman hit a couple big 3’s and Carson was able to break them down inside with 12 points inside.  The entire team played great defense!

As I walk away from watching this team win its 24th game of the year, I have many emotions.  First and foremost, I have a lot of pride that this is the team that represents Basehor-Linwood.

I’m extremely happy for both the players and the coaching staff that they have put themselves in a position to win the program’s third state championship in seven years.

The last emotion is sadness…I can’t help but being sad knowing that I only get one more game to watch these three  seniors who have been such a joy to be around, so much fun to watch on the court, and so good to my boys (the biological ones that actually live with us).

Every year, when we have great seniors like we have this year, it’s so hard to see them go.  It’s like letting a little piece of your family go and you just hope they stay in touch and let you know what’s going on in their life.

So let’s end this right…leave it all on the court!

 

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We’re Going to the ‘Ship

We’re Going to the ‘Ship

As I shared many laughs with my road trip crew, I realized that this team was only going to be together for two more days. I’m not ready to be done. In fact, I plan to shed many tears Saturday night, win or lose. I’ve been a gym rat for as long as I can remember, and being at every practice with this team has always been the highlight of my day.

As I walked into the Bicentennial Center for the second time in three days it became clear why I manage. I love it because of the high-fives you get from little kids before the games and the rest of the community telling you ‘good luck.’ It’s my favorite thing because of how special this team is and the unique bond that we have as a team.

Now it’s game time, and I was excited Ottawa didn’t intimidate me. We had taken care of business against them earlier in the year and I was ready to do it again. I said my pre-game prayer like I had before every game this year, and it was show time.

Much like Wednesday’s game, the first half was back and forth. I started to feel a sense of peace when Jahron settled into a rhythm, and no one could stop him. I knew then that no matter what Ottawa threw at us, we would be okay.

I started to feel a sense of peace when Jahron settled into a rhythm, and no one could stop him.”

— Basketball Manager Haley Langstraat

Just like I knew they would, the boys took care of business once again. As I sit here watching the McPherson vs. Bishop Meige semifinal, I’m super excited for tomorrow, but I’m also sad. Saturday will be the last time I ever watch over Pat’s mouthguard case, make sure Joe has a water bottle when he checks out, and make sure Carson has a towel to wipe away his sweat. But we’re going to the ‘ship, and that’s all that matters.

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Band Cats Fight Back

Band Cats Fight Back

The whole day of the Ottawa versus Basehor-Linwood game was pretty fun. The plus is, my phone didn’t die on the way down, so that’s great. However, I wasn’t listening to as much music. Because on the bus, there was energy in the air. Everyone was pumped, and excited, and I’m pretty sure most of us had too much coffee or too many energy drinks in our system.

Nonetheless, the jokes and burns were rampant, and they only became more frequent and hilarious along the way.

We arrived at halftime of the game before ours, so we just sat around waiting. As soon as it was over, we filled in, removing the extra chairs and setting up our things. We were soon sitting down and ready to play, and we didn’t waste any time to start. We were spot on, and the energy would stay the whole night.

Even though it was a basketball game, and better yet, the semi-finals, it was also a band competition among us. So the basketball team wasn’t the only ones who won; us Band Cats did too.

When the other band played “Seven Nation Army,” we took it as a declaration of war.

When the other band played ‘Seven Nation Army,’ we took it as a declaration of war.”

— Band Member Adam Crouse

Soon enough, we played our own version of it…and played it better as well. We had so much energy, and such a will to prove ourselves better, that we rocked that night.

From the side of the court, I got to see everything. The game was intense, and although we were focused on doing our best during timeouts and breaks, we were also focused on the game, where the Bobcats were doing their best.

It was a great game. There was just so much energy and competition in the air, you could literally feel it. The game made the long, long drive worth it. The best part? We get to do it all again tomorrow.

 

 

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Huge Crowd Supports Bobcats in Semifinal

Huge Crowd Supports Bobcats in Semifinal

The level of excitement at today’s game was unbelievable! Both schools had great student sections to fill the arena with noise and made the game that much more thrilling to watch.

I was proud to look around at everyone in the crowd that came for Wednesday’s game, plus a lot of new faces from our community. It goes to show how supportive everyone around us is of our school in driving all this way to watch them play.

I was proud to look around at everyone in the crowd that came for Wednesday’s game.”

— Cheerleader Alyssa Foster

Today’s game was a great test for the Bobcats in aiding them to be ready for tomorrow. Ottawa played tough on both offense and defense, leading our team to making sure they could cover both sides of the court.

After the Bobcats took a decent lead over Ottawa, I was waiting for one thing to happen before the game ended: a crowd-jerking dunk from one of our boys. And we got it by Pat Muldoon at the end of the fourth quarter.

I’m excited and nervous to see how our team holds up tomorrow to McPherson. Only one of these teams will be crowned as undefeated state champions, and I’m hoping that our Bobcats come out with a 2015 state victory and another ring for our team.

 

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A Great End to Our Senior Year

A Great End to Our Senior Year

Walking into the stadium, you could feel the crazy atmosphere of the fans. It’s an amazing feeling seeing how many citizens we have at the game. It seems like we almost have the whole city of Basehor there. Everyone is hooting and hollering – it’s a really sweet sight!

When I saw Ottawa, what really stood out to me was their three-point shots. They were draining three’s in their warmups from all over the place. They didn’t seem to be the biggest team though, so I knew that Pat and Carson could easily have a field day on them as long as they didn’t get into foul trouble. I was pretty confident that we would win this game.

Starting the game, Ottawa came out strong and made a good push to take the lead. Now they weren’t shooting that well from the three-point line, but they had good movement. Then all of a sudden, Jahron McPherson and Joe Gorman took over the game with their three-point shots.

Then all of a sudden, Jahron McPherson and Joe Gorman took over the game with their three-point shots.”

— Basehor-Linwood Senior Zach Ferguson

Joe drained one early on, and then followed it with a buzzer beater! And Jahron had a field day at the three, and for a while had either as much as or a little less then Ottawa’s whole team’s total score.

Towards the final seconds of the game, the crowd lit up in excitement and Basehor-Linwood was still undefeated. We are going to the championship once again!

It’s so cool that I get to see our team in the state championship for my senior year. It’s a great way to end my high school years; well next to graduating, of course!

Everyone should come out tonight and support our boys and watch them play to bring home another championship to Basehor, Kansas!

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Rivalry Game Ends With Sweet Victory

Rivalry Game Ends With Sweet Victory

Whenever you hear Basehor vs. Ottawa, my mind goes straight to a rivalry. Basehor has had its ups and downs with Ottawa but mainly ups and with Basehor already beating Ottawa in the regular season.

I did not have too much fear that we would lose here. I arrived around a hour and a half before the game start time, and our student section was already packed. Looking over towards Ottawa’s student section, they were also very packed. From this point I knew that we would have to be loud to make a presence in the game.

At the start of the game, it was like the two teams were about to get into a fight because of how amped up they were – neither team wanted to go home. Ottawa came down to score, but then we had a fast three-ball from Jahron to set the tone for that game. I do not know what got into Jahron this game, or if he just ate a box of Wheaties, but he was on a higher level than any other player on that court.

I do not know what got into Jahron this game, or if he just ate a box of Wheaties, but he was on a higher level than any other player on the court.”

— Jesse Smallwood

At one point in the game Jahron had as many points himself as Ottawa had as a team. With Basehor’s student section coming together as a whole this game, we were loud as ever and Ottawa started to die down.

I am not going to say this was the prettiest game, because it was not our best game by far. But the whole year Coach McBride keep telling both his players and students that they do not want to peak too early.

McBride is one of the best coaches and might be right on this one, because we have the storybook game tomorrow – two undefeated teams facing each other for the state championship.

This will also be Pat Muldoon’s last game in Basehor colors, so Pat should be an animal like always and play with 110 percent. Win or lose, Basehor is a team for the ages. They played as one for the whole year – this is what every coach wants their program to be like.

 

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