Wednesday, December 17, 2014

SPORTS: McPherson offers more late-game heroics against Piper as Bobcats survive, 68-63


KANSAS CITY, KAN. — When Jahron McPherson graduates from Basehor-Linwood High School here in 2016, there will be a lot of happy people.

His family, his coaches and the Basehor-Linwood community will all be proud of him.

But among those happiest to see him go will be the Piper Pirates basketball program.

McPherson scored seven critical fourth quarter points, as the Bobcats avoided an upset bid by the young Piper Pirates, 68-63.

Patrick Muldoon's 21 points and Carson Fliger's 20 points led the way, but it was McPherson's late game heroics that helped the Bobcats survive and pull away.

After a Piper three-pointer by Jordan Guess cut the Bobcats' lead to one-point at 55-54, McPherson scored the next six points of the game, helping Basehor-Linwood build a seven-point advantage.

Three of those points came on the biggest swing possession of the game. Down 56-54, Piper's Vince Eskina missed an open three-point shot that would have given Piper a lead in the final minutes.

On the very next possession for Basehor-Linwood, Jahron McPherson drilled an open three-point shot to give Basehor-Linwood a 59-54 lead. Piper would not get within one possession again.

It was only McPherson's latest dagger in a series filled recently by nail-biting wins for the Bobcats. McPherson hit a three-pointer at the buzzer in Basehor-Linwood's 100-99 win at Piper last year.

McPherson hit a mammoth three-pointer late in the sub-state game against Piper to send the Bobcats to Salina, Kan.

"You can tell he's holding back a little bit," said head coach Mike McBride. "He had two big steals in the fourth quarter and we knew it could turnaround. He had four assists and no turnovers against Hayden. I know he had quite a few assists tonight."

Still, if it was McPherson's late game heroics that helped get the win, it was Muldoon and Fliger's early-game heroics that helped Basehor-Linwood overcome a flat first quarter and a good performance by the Pirates.

Fliger played his best game as a Bobcat, finishing with 20 points. He also took five charges, some coming on key possessions where Piper had the opportunity to either tie the game or take the lead.

Fliger himself scored six early points in the fourth quarter to help the Bobcats regain the lead.

"He scored some buckets early on," McBride said. "This summer, we didn't know that he could play in a game like this.

In a first quarter where the Bobcats came out flat, it was Fliger and Muldoon that held the ship together. Their 10 collective points helped Basehor-Linwood stay within reach in a quarter Piper won 17-12. Together, they scored 41 of Basehor-Linwood's 68 points.

Still, even with the win, McBride was disappointed with the team's performance early on.

"Not one of us was focused for this game," he said. "It was a real struggle at finding the right five guys."

Basehor-Linwood improves to 3-0 on the season, with all three wins coming on the road. The Bobcats will finally play their first home game of the season on Thursday night, when they host Tonganoxie.