By Stephen Montemayor, BasehorInfo.com
One week ago, after the Basehor-Linwood boys basketball team hit what he called its “rock bottom,” coach Mike McBride made clear that this wasn’t the same team that brought home the 2012 state title.
On Saturday, against the team it defeated to earn that title, the result was still nearly the same as their last meeting. But Ottawa, led by Duke University commit Semi Ojeleye’s 47 points, held on to defeat the Bobcats, 64-59, in the final of the BLHS Invitational.
Unsure how BLHS would perform leading into this week — and unsure how it’d respond to an audience that eclipsed the thousands on Saturday — McBride left the locker room having arrived at a conclusion.
“I think the barometer is back to where I thought we were at the beginning of the year: I thought we were a state contender,” McBride said. “We have as talented of guards as we had in 2009. If they don’t think they’re a top four, five team in the state after tonight I don’t know how to show them.”
The Bobcats (6-4) didn’t merely hang with the Cyclones (13-0) in Saturday’s rematch, they entered the second and fourth quarters with leads, and withstood Ottawa runs never trailing by more than five points.
And when it mattered most, down four with less than a minute left, BLHS was the recipient of the most clutch of shots authored by as new of a player to the team as possible.
Standing at the top of the key, a man in front of him, freshman Jahron McPherson arced his second three-pointer of the night, this one pulling the Bobcats within one with 44 seconds left.
“I’d like to see a better freshman in the state right now in terms of what we want him to do,” McBride said afterward.
Still, the Cyclones held on, aided by a travel called on McPherson on the other end, a pair of free throws made by Ojeleye — he hit 15 of 18 — and a miss by Younger in the waning moments.
“I can live with someone Duke chose beating us by five,” McBride said. “Do I think we could have a second chance against them? Yes.
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