Senior Joey Robinson and junior Grant Stubblefield celebrate after winning the Sub-State championship, Mar. 5.
Playing against Blue Valley North for the fourth time this season, the Huskies came out on top in a back-and-forth game to win the Sub-State championship, 63-57.
Head coach Aaron Ihm said playing any team four times is difficult and North always does a great job with their gameplan.
“They’re a really good team and they’re always prepared. They’re not going to give it to you, you have to beat them. We knew we were capable of beating them, but we also knew it was going to be a four quarter grind,” Ihm said. “They’re prepared, they’re well-coached and they’re athletic but you have to go beat them because they’re not going to beat themselves.”
The Huskies and Mustangs kept it close in the first half, but Northwest jumped to a four-point lead by halftime. Senior Joey Robinson said they built a lead because they played hard on both sides of the ball.
“We got the ball moving and we found the hot hand. We also defended well and forced them to take a lot of contested shots,” Robinson said.
Northwest came out of halftime slow and the Mustangs took over the lead by the end of the third quarter. Robinson said the Huskies lost focus and strayed away from their gameplan as North started to come back.
“We got away from ourselves and stopped running our offense. When they started took the lead we tried to get it all back in one play which doesn’t work,” Robinson said.
Ihm added onto Robinson, saying multiple starters got into foul trouble in the third quarter which caused issues on both sides of the ball.
“We got in foul trouble which caused us to have three starters on the bench at one time. They care so much about the game and want to win, but sometimes they try to do it all themselves and we had three bad shots which gave them some easy points on leakouts,” Ihm said.
In the fourth quarter, the Huskies got back on track quickly tying up the game and eventually regained the lead.
“We know that we can score in bunches so we don’t get too up or down and we just keep on defending. I think that’s why we’ve been able to come back in so many games this year because we know as long as we continue to defend, we’ll get enough looks at the basket that we’ll be able to run off 7, 8, or 10 points at a time,” Ihm said. “We knew we just had to continue to make stops and once we did Grant hit an and-one then made a three and you could see it in their eyes that North wasn’t going to score again.”
After getting the lead back, the Huskies stayed solid down the stretch, made important free throws and finished the game with a 63-57 victory to win the Sub-State championship.
The game featured a few lasts for the team. It was the last ever home game for the seniors and the last game in the current main gym.
“It feels good to win my last home game, but it feels even better to move onto state and to beat North,” Robinson said.
Ihm said the team will enjoy the Sub-State championship for the time being, but will quickly begin preparing for the state tournament.
“After this celebration, the coaches are going to do what we do and see who we’re matched up against and getting all the film. We told the guys that we’re good enough we can beat anyone in the state, but we’re not too good that we can’t lose to anyone we play. So we just have to be locked in, believe in ourselves and have fun with it,” Ihm said.
The Huskies will start the 6A state tournament with a game against Shawnee Mission Northwest on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. at Wichita State University’s Charles Koch Arena.
Jack Nitz is a senior and the Sports Editor of “The Express.” Outside of newspaper he is the Senior Class President, the DECA treasurer, National Honor Society membership co-chair, and a member of Quill and Scroll Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society. In his free time Jack enjoys spending time with friends, watching and playing sports and talking about Fantasy Football. Jack is looking forward to covering BVNW sports this year and hopes to improve on his leadership and writing skills this year.
Bailey Thompson is a senior and Chief Photographer for “The Express.” Outside of staff, Bailey is in NHS, NAHS and a part of the girls soccer team. She also enjoys spending time with her friends and family, as well as binge-watching TV shows and movies on Netflix. Bailey is excited for what the future has in store for her and is ready for the next step.