Throughout the season, Basehor-Linwood girls’ basketball coach Jason Tatkenhorst talked about how this year’s team was young but would grow. Now at the end of the season, the coach said the future is bright. He also said he is proud of how the team stuck together this year.
“It was not the perfect year in terms of injuries and sickness so that definitely hurt us,” Tatkenhorst said. “But at the same time, I am proud of the players and how they stuck together through it all and continued to support each other. We have terrific student-athletes in our program.”
The Bobcats wrapped up their season with a 54-48 sub-state loss to Sumner Academy on Feb. 27 to end the year 8-13.
The young team struggled at the start of the year, losing five of their first six, but the team started to find rhythm in January, starting with the Shawnee Heights game Jan. 8. The Bobcats won six of their next eight games, including a five-game winning streak. Tatkenhorst said the winning streak was his favorite memory of the season and the best performance this season.
“Our five-game winning streak during the middle of the year was a lot of fun for the girls,” Tatkenhorst said. “We made a couple great comebacks in games that really showed the perseverance of our players and team.”
The Bobcats finished the regular season with close losses in six games and picked up a win against Turner to sweep the Golden Bears.
The coach said the team’s biggest strength this season was its half-court defense.
“Rarely did our defense let us down,” he said.
The coach said he always hates to see players not get playing time when they are sick and injured. He said they had that this year and he wished he could have changed that.
He said senior McKenzie Jones and junior Riley Tinder were the MVPs for the team this season.
“McKenzie Jones as soon as last summer wanted to provide the best leadership she could,” Tatkenhorst said. “She was a terrific leader for us through the fall and our season. As soon as our season ended this year, we’ve had juniors trying to follow her lead on how to be a leader. That’s leadership. Riley Tinder led us in production points for stats. She fills every positive stat category.”
He also said sophomore Isabel Sibert was the most improved player.
“We all saw the player she can become,” he said. “She simply took over in some of our games.”
Jones is one of the two seniors leaving the program along with Brianna Ward. Tatkenhorst said the girls never gave up in their time with the program.
“Our senior class of McKenzie Jones and Bri Ward showed leadership throughout the summer, fall and season,” Tatkenhorst said. “Their four years were not perfect. There were good times as well as adversity, but they never gave up, something all of our underclass players will take with them. McKenzie told the players after our last game that ‘they got this next year’ and ‘go get it next year’ in a video. That is so unselfish for her to say but a great example of the leadership our seniors gave.”
Looking ahead to next year, the coach said the future is looking great. He talked about how the middle school program is doing well and how the freshman team went 14-1. The Bobcats will also return nearly all of the varsity players.
“Our offseason will be a key to set us up for next year,” Tatkenhorst said.