The Basehor-Linwood Bobcats take on the McPherson Bullpups in the 2015 4A-I state championship game.

Photo by: Kristen Loney

State Championship Game: From the Eyes of the Participants

March 15, 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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We’ll Be Back

We’ll Be Back

The End.  You can’t avoid it, the end always happens.  Ideally, the end would have come with Basehor-Linwood hoisting the championship trophy above their heads, turning to the crowd as the amazing Bobcat Nation roared in celebration of our 25-0 season.

The end didn’t quite play out like that, but strangely, it wasn’t all that different.  We hoisted a trophy, state runner-up, and our Bobcat faithful roared in celebration of an insanely successful season of 24 wins and 1 loss.

While it would’ve been amazing to win that game, it doesn’t make me any less proud of the team that took the floor all 25 games of this season.

This was one of those teams that makes you wish the season was just a bit longer.  I can’t say enough about the quality individuals that made up the 2014-2015 installment of the Bobcat basketball team.

As I have said before, I’m sad to see the seniors go.  Carson, Joe and Pat were great leaders, each in their own way, but most importantly they all played for the team and not for themselves.

I have sat on the sidelines cheering fervently for 17 years with my husband coaching, 11 of those for the Bobcats, and I can honestly say that this year goes in the books as one of the most fun years we have had.

Some would say, well that’s an obvious statement given that it’s the most wins we’ve ever had.  The wins are of course fun, I’m a super competitive person and I HATE losing…HATE it!  But, the thing that made this team fun was the effort put forth in every game and every practice.

These seniors did exactly what their coach asked of them. You can’t ask for more than that.”

— Shelby McBride

At the beginning of every season, we have the seniors over for dinner and the pre-season meeting.  I won’t give anything away about what is said at that meeting, but I will tell you that these seniors did exactly what their coach asked of them…EXACTLY!!  You can’t ask for more than that.

Being a coach’s wife, every year you have to say goodbye to kids, but you also get to look forward to the next year as well.  We have so much to look forward to!  The Bobcats aren’t going anywhere.

Basehor Linwood will be a frequent visitor to the state tournament, and that comes as a direct result from all the hard work that every former, current and future Bobcat puts in to this program that the coaches have worked so hard to establish.  And when we arrive in Salina, you’ll know it, because our entire community will be there to support us!  #thetraditioncontinues

 

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Don’t Cry Because It’s Over, Smile Because It’s Happened

Don’t Cry Because It’s Over, Smile Because It’s Happened

As I stood with tear-filled eyes outside the locker room for the last time this year, I watched Pat walk out emotionally with the trophy in his hand. What happened next I didn’t see coming.

Pat walked up to each of us managers with arms wide. Need I mention, I thought I was done crying, I was wrong.

As Pat gave me a hug thanking me for everything this year and for making this year fun. All I could think about was this is the last time I will be known as “Pat’s manager,”(yes that’s a real thing) and we came one game short.

He thanked me for this year and for making it fun, but I really should have thanked Pat and the whole team for this year. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I’m a huge gym rat, but I’ve never had as much fun at basketball games or practices as I did with this team.

I’m a huge gym rat, but I’ve never had as much fun at basketball games or practices as I did with this team.”

— Manager Haley Langstraat

One of my favorite quotes is by Dr. Seuss, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” This could not be more the of this year. I cry because we fell one game short of one of our goals. I cry because because the season’s over and this team won’t play together again.

At the same time as I look back and I smile. We had an undefeated regular season, were Bobcat Invitational champs, substate champs, the only undefeated team in the Kansas City area, ranked highly in numerous polls, second at state, and the list goes on and on.

To close this post out, I would like to thank several people. To Bobcat Nation, thank you for being supportive of us all year, and cheering loud all year.

To my fellow comrades (managers), thank you for making this year so much fun and for all of the laughs.

To this year’s basketball parents, thank you isn’t enough. Thank you for everything you have done for us behind the scenes. It doesn’t go unnoticed.

To this team, thank you for making me love being a manager that much more and for giving me so many laughs. Trust me, they will never be forgotten.

Finally, to the coaches, thank you for trusting me with your prized possession, the stat book, for making fun of me, and for always telling me that I’m the best manager in the state.

You guys make this so much fun and I wouldn’t want to be a manager for a different coaching staff. This will be one season I will never forget. Thank you all for making this a season to remember!

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Cheerleader Reflects on Season

Cheerleader Reflects on Season

Emotions were running high as the final basketball game of my cheerleading career began against McPherson. Both teams started off on fire, and this continued the whole way through. The Bobcats knew how they needed to play, and they played with passion the entire game.

I don’t have much to say about the game overall because…well, the people there know how it went and have very strong opinions about things that happened, as do I.

My only comment will be this: Players and fans, always remember that the score on the board isn’t only achieved by the players and their shots. Their are other influences, and if you were at the game, you most likely know what I’m referencing.

Unfortunately, these things cannot be controlled by the players or the fans. In connection, I was highly impressed with how our boys responded to the outcome towards the end of the fourth quarter.

They played with class and pushed through to the end, even with a trio of players fouled out on the bench. They did not give up, and this reaction should be highly recognized and celebrated.

As for the seniors, it broke my heart to see them crying on the side after they fouled out. At that point, they could only rely on their teammates to finish the job, although they came up a little short. Still, they played one heck of a game.

That game was by far my favorite of this season. The passion, the teamwork, the chemistry. It was all there, and needs to be continued on next year. If one must take anything away from this game, it’s that this season for our boys basketball team was a historic one that may never be repeated again.

This is McBride’s first season ever having a perfect regular season, which will never be forgotten. Our team was the last team to lose their first game of the season out of all the 4A Kansas high schools.

This year, we made it to state, made it past the first round, and claimed second place, making this season unforgettable for everyone and a great ride, literally. It is quite the drive down to Salina with all the trips back and forth, especially on a bus…

Lastly, I would like to thank our fans and community members for coming out such a long way to support our team. The crowd tonight was amazing; it was the largest crowd I’ve ever seen in a high school basketball game. Simply amazing!

The crowd tonight was amazing; it was the largest crowd I’ve ever seen in a high school basketball game.”

— Cheerleader Alyssa Foster

This year was a special one for me, as it is my first year doing school cheerleading and my last year of high school. This team far exceeded my expectations, and I will be forever grateful that I got to cheer them on.

It was my pleasure to get to support a near-perfect season with such a kind and inspiring group of young men. I also want to thank this team for bringing me to love watching basketball.

When my cheer season started, I was only excited for football, because well, I just love football! But these boys made me appreciate basketball by the chemistry and brotherhood they showed on the court, and their immense passion for the sport of basketball.

I feel honored to get to write this one last post about the 2015 Bobcat basketball season as a cheerleader, and as your editor-in-chief. Thank you, boys, for such an exciting and historic season. The community and I are already pumped and hopeful for a great season next year.

 

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Special Season Winds to a Close

Special Season Winds to a Close

Game time is inching closer now, soon we will go in and find our seats in the Salina Bicentennial center. That’s when it will start, the reality hits, on the big stage will be the last two undefeated teams taking the court for a winner takes all tilt to see who walks away as the state champ.

Walking the halls of the arena I exchanged the passing hello and how ya’ doing greeting, and on a few occasions as I walked on I overheard them say, ” Where’s Basehor?” I was immediately incredulous…. Reminded of the old Beach Boys tune, “What’s the matter buddy ain’t you heard of my school? We’re number one in the state!” Be true to your school.

Suddenly all around me were students and fans with painted faces and Burger King crowns – More of the superstitious regalia we all hold dear. Somewhere in the far reaches of the arena, Coach McBride was drilling the battle plan of the day into the Basehor-Linwood Bobcats.

What a long strange trip it’s been, how do you build a team like this? We are reminded every day that it’s a small world, little known fact, Jackson Sherley’s grandpa and Carson Fliger’s grandpa spent 1961-1968 coaching varsity basketball at another Kaw Valley school just north of us on K-7. That was fifty years ago. Now tonight those two boys will stand together chasing a state title.

A team like this needs so many things to make it run at its optimal level. Like a fleet of cars for different purposes, we’ve got the sporty race car models in Jahron, Brock , Jack Dale and Ben. They speed by defenders with the agility of a Bobcat.

Nick Fisher provides quality minutes, dependable and capable like a luxury sedan. The work truck of the group would be Carson Fliger, a big red work truck. Nothing better when you have a tough job to do, it hauls the load when things get tough.

Then of course you’ve got Pat…. Our Cadillac Escalade with a Lamborghini engine. Capable of carrying the whole team, fast as heck, and looks good doing it.

As for composure I look to Joe Gorman , it has been said that if you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs, you might not have a firm grasp on the situation…Gorman was the sensible and reliable SUV of the fleet.

Joe was as calm, cool and seemingly ubiquitous as he became the axle on the Bobcats offensive wheel during a third quarter run that saw the Bobcats pull within a single bucket. But was not to be, despite another barrage of points from Jahron, our streak ended.

I will miss the three seniors and offer this as a public thank you for your service. May only good things meet you on your life’s journey.

I will miss the three seniors and offer this as a public thank you for your service. May only good things meet you on your life’s journey.”

— Parent Jim Sherley

I don’t write about this game as a loss, the very thought that this game detracts at all from the perfection that this season represents would be absurd.

Let’s break it down, (24) wins…possibly a school best. A group of boys in the program varsity, JV, and beyond that are good, quality young men with bright futures.

A program that has the backing of coaches, faculty, administration and the whole town. As it was this weekend, I’m not kidding we brought the whole town to support our team. And for that I will close with thanks to all – thanks to the coaches, their wives and kids who shared them so that our boys could play at state.

To the fans that came this weekend and supported the team. And to the team themselves, who game us a destination for so many cold winter nights. A respite from the unwelcoming winter air allowing us to fill our nights with victories and memories in route to Salina.

And finally a challenge to all, next season fill those gymnasiums again, every game. Let the 2015-2016 Bobcats launch into the new season with an entire town in their corner. See you there. #fillthegym.

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Don’t Lose Your Enthusiasm

Don’t Lose Your Enthusiasm

I feel like enough has been said about the final game in the tournament. From the minute I sat down with the rest of the band, I knew it was going to be a bad game. I just had a gut feeling.

But everyone played their hearts out that night. I feel like enough of the bad has been said about the game, yes. But I don’t feel that enough optimism has been spread. Not enough of the good things have been addressed. So I’m going to address them.

One of the first things I noticed when I sat down with my alto was that the Basehor-Linwood side of the court was packed full of people. I swear, the whole town must have been there. There was a ton of support, and that was great.

When I say support, I don’t just mean for the team either. I noticed multiple times after we’d wrap up one of our songs, there’d be people cheering for us. It’s a simple gesture to most people, but to me, that’s awesome. To know that someone actually cares about what we’re doing on the sidelines as well.

Second off, besides the support, how about the team? Those boys played their hearts out that night. Even under pressure, they kept their cool. Take away all the fouls that shouldn’t have been called, and all the points our opponents got off of them, and it was a win for us, literally.

Why are we focusing on how bad the calls were when we should be focusing on how great our boys were? The band was really into the game as well. We were just as angry and confused and pumped up as the rest of the crowd. All around, there was a ton of support for the boys, and that’s how it should be.

Finally, I’d like to wrap up with this thought; “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” That’s a quote from Winston Churchill.

We get so caught up in the fact that we lost, we forget about the fact that this isn’t the last game. There’s going to be another state tournament next year. We get another chance to succeed. To the seniors who won’t be coming back next year; this chance is gone, yes.

But you stand before the world. This game was one of the many battles in this war called life. You’re going to have a lot more to fight through. May you succeed in these coming battles. Who knows; maybe you’ll be on the winning side of an NCAA championship game someday.

Yes, we lost this year. But let’s take this and apply it towards preparing for next year. Good luck to everyone. Let us not lose our enthusiasm, and let us move on to other victories.

 

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We Put Up A Heck of a Fight

We Put Up A Heck of a Fight

As my final days in Salina came to a close. I finally found myself back in the stadium to watch our boys fight for the championship against McPherson – a solid team who was also 24-0 coming into the game. I knew it would be a good game, but I had a feeling that we could pull off the win.

Looking at the other team, they were very similar to us. During warmups they had many players who could hit the three. And seemed to have a pretty threatening big man. When the game started, they caught fire fast and seemed to be pretty consistent through most of the game against us.

Our problem was that we had our main scorers in foul trouble early on due to some janky calls by the refs. This causes other players to step up, which they did; but without our two big men and starting point guard, it’s hard to get in a rhythm.

Then all of a sudden, we went from losing by 12 to losing by 6. And Joe Gorman drained a three to put us behind by three. The crowd was going berserk!

Unfortunately the other team came back, and took a lead that was hard to overcome. Our three seniors fouled out, and everyone else tried their best; Jahron scored like 18 points in the final minutes, but it was too late.

We lost this game, but we put up a heck of a fight.”

— Zach Ferguson

We lost this game, but we put up a heck of a fight. Obviously a championship would have been cool, but at least we got the chance to play for it. I’d like to thank the team for putting on great shows for the fans, and I wish the best of luck to the seniors with however they choose to pursue their lives in college.

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