Chieftain boys’ attempt to even series falls short
Tonganoxie had something to prove Friday in Basehor.
The boys basketball team faced a Basehor-Linwood squad Jan. 23 with a similar record, but the Bobcats were on target from the outside and disrupted Tonganoxie's inside game in an 18-point victory.
On Friday, the Tonganoxie High boys looked to avenge the first meeting with Basehor-Linwood.
Tonganoxie played a better game, but still dropped another contest to the Bobcats, 63-53.
The Chieftains were game, jumping to a 15-10 first quarter lead, but ran out of gas in the second half, losing 63-53.
BLHS coach Mike McBride said it wasn't easy to beat the Chieftains back-to-back.
"It was huge," McBride said of the win. "We knew they were going to come after us. I was just glad the kids listened to me, because we won an 18-point game, and you come back the next game and think, man, are the kids going to take these guys seriously?
"There is a reason they are 8-3. They didn't play their best game Tuesday night. It is huge for our morale that a team came in and gave us their best shot and we still won."
Tonganoxie actually entered the first meeting with an 8-3 record, but now stands at 8-5 after back-to-back losses to the Bobcats.
From the outset, Tonganoxie didn't look like the same team that had lost by nearly 20 less than 72 hours before.
The Chieftains controlled the tempo early, and pushed their lead to six, 27-21, with 1:30 left in the first half.
"They came out ready to go," said BLHS player Austin Knipp who scored 20. "They were getting offensive rebounds. They played tight defense throughout the game. We just started hitting our shots."
The Chieftains couldn't stave off BLHS in the second half when the offense began to show productivity. The Bobcats began the third quarter on a 9-2 run and seized the lead, 34-31. The rest of the third quarter was spent swapping the lead between the two squads.
The Chieftains had given special attention to the BLHS attack on Tuesday evening.
Their preparation showed Friday night. They played a man-to-man defense, while doubling Swafford and Knipp when they got the ball.
BLHS led 43-40 through three quarters. THS hung around in the fourth quarter, but could not withstand excellent Bobcat free-throw shooting. Point guard Chandler Schaake went 4-for-4 from the stripe in the last two minutes to seal the victory, and 9-for-9 on the game. The sophomore ended with 16 points and four assists.
The Bobcats shot 91% from the free-throw line, going 21-for-23.
Tonganoxie, conversely, shot 6-for-17 from the stripe, an uncharacteristic statistic for this year's Chieftains.
Tonganoxie's Gabe Belobrajdic led all scorers with 21.
The first meeting between the two schools on Jan. 23 included some good-natured heckling between the two student sections.
The same thing transpired in the rematch.
As the clock ticked down to the Bobcat victory, the Basehor-Linwood students started the Tomahawk Chop, which the Chieftain student section customarily does at the end of games they win. Such was the case to the THS students after the girls game.
After the Bobcats won the boys game, BLHS students went into a prolonged, sarcastic Tomahawk Chop of their own.
The Bobcats improved to 9-4 overall and a perfect 7-0 in Kaw Valley League. THS dropped to 8-5 overall and 1-4 in KVL play.
Although the Bobcats swept the regular-season series in one week, the teams could meet again in Class 4A substate play in late February or early March in Tonganoxie.
-- Shawn Linenberger contributed to this story.