By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com
Brook Redmond's one-hitter to eliminate the Bonner Springs Braves softball team has put Basehor within reach of yet another title.
Basehor-Linwood defeated Bonner Springs 7-0 in the 4A regional championship game.
The win puts the softball program back to Salina and the senior class for the Lady Bobcats could win their second state title (they won it in 2010) - and the fourth for the school this year.
With a fourth state title, it would put Basehor-Linwood up with the best throughout the state of Kansas.
Earlier this year, the boys and girls power lifting state titles were won by the Bobcats, the first two the school earned.
In March, Basehor won one of the crown jewels in Kansas - the boys basketball state championship.
How has a small community risen up on the big stage so quickly?
2. The power lifting program. One of the items I believe is sorely missed in most Kansas City, Kan., schools is weight-training programs and the idea of getting stronger. Many student-athletes in KCK have to go to their local gym or YMCA to work-out, get fit and get stronger. One of the rude awakenings some athletes run into out of KCK is the immediate weight-training programs their colleges request them to run. In Basehor, they have the best power-lifting or weight-training program in the state. Though it may not correlate to the other sports too much depending on the athletes who participate in multiple sports, the fact the power-training program is so successful probably means the equipment is top notch. It probably also means coaches from other sports urge their players to weight-train. The power-lifting program is more significant than it looks on paper.
(EDIT: Justin Gripka, one of my Twitter followers, told me that Basehor varsity athletes are required to lift weights three times a week. This detail reinforces the second point very well.)
3. Strong support of sports school-wide and top to bottom. Basehor athletic director Joe Keeler has made some terrific coaching hirings and it's clear he has a vision for what Basehor-Linwood became. An athletic department that is solid top to bottom probably means the athletic director is doing his or her job. There's not too many sports Basehor-Linwood struggles with. It seems like every sport has a great team every other year. Though their baseball team didn't make it to state this year, it did last year. Their girls basketball program was young this year, but they also made it to state recently. The boys basketball program is in the argument as being the best in 4A, though Sumner Academy and Topeka-Hayden could claim other wise. There may be some off years, but they're right back the very next season. Basehor has generated a lot of interest in the coaching community in Kansas City. Trust me on that. In the world of high school athletics in the metro, Basehor-Linwood has become a special place. It's no fluke that many of the programs inside Basehor win.
4. Strong support from the community. There are good things and bad things about a community that's obsessed with high school athletics. One of the good things - it can inspire athletes to win big for their city. I know "winning one for Basehor" was one of the points of inspiration for the great basketball team this year. Basehor fans bring it - their fans are very passionate, especially when their teams are good.
Basehor's success is no accident.
They're not just winning because they're not in the inner-city. They're not just winning because of one or two head coaches in the school. There are similar schools in the metro that match Basehor's demographics that have not had as much success top to bottom in athletics.
They're winning because they have a commitment to excellence, to borrow a phrase from Al Davis.
The last four years at Basehor-Linwood High School have been special. And next week, it may be time to make room for yet another trophy.