Huskies pull away in second half to advance onto 6A state semifinals

The boys varsity basketball team defeated the Shawnee Mission Northwest Cougars, 73-54, in the 6A state quarterfinals, March 8.

March 9, 2023


Bailey Thompson

Seniors Landon Braun (12) and Aidan Behymer (21) celebrate after defeating Shawnee Mission Northwest in the state quarterfinals.

After their win against Olathe Northwest on March 3 in the Sub-State Championship, the Huskies traveled to Wichita, Kan. to play the Shawnee Mission Northwest Cougars in the state quarterfinals. The Cougars kept up with the Huskies for the first three quarters, but in the final half of the game, the Huskies pulled away to win 73-54.

Coming into the game, head coach Aaron Ihm said despite the high stakes, the team tried not to let the pressure get to them in order to concentrate on winning.

“We were calm and we knew what was in front of us and we didn’t pay too much [attention] when games got close or or when they started pressuring,” Ihm said. “This group has a lot of trust in each other. They’re prepared for these things.”

The game started out close, with the first quarter ending with the Huskies leading the Cougars 15-12. BVNW was able to increase their lead to 29-22 by halftime, however SMNW were not far behind. According to senior Grant Stubblefield, during halftime the team discussed what they needed to concentrate on in order to advance onto the next round.

“At halftime, our coach told us to keep pressure on them and make sure we didn’t let them feel comfortable or like they were in the game no matter the score,” Stubblefield said.

Additionally, Ihm mentioned how the team focused on shutting down SMNW’s point guard throughout the game to stop the Cougars from scoring as many points.

“They had a really, really quick point guard. Probably the quickest that we’ve faced and we wanted to make sure that he couldn’t get out ahead and transition and I thought our guys for the most part did a really good job on that.”

The Huskies began to pull ahead later in the game, and by the end of the third quarter were up by 11 points. According to Stubblefield, the team applied the defensive tactics they have been working on in practice to the game which ultimately contributed to their success.

“We stopped their transitions and drives really well, that’s something we worked on all week. We wanted to force them to shoot outside shots,” Stubblefield said. 

At the end of the game, the Huskies defeated the Cougars 73-54. Additionally, Stubblefield, who contributed 27 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists to BVNW, reached over one thousand high school career points. According to Ihm, winning the game and Stubblefield reaching the one thousandth point mark was a special moment.

“Coaches and players live and dream to go to the Final Fours and so to be able to win in the fashion that we did, and then also be able to celebrate our teammate Grant Stubblefield, who just scored the one thousandth point of his career in that game, it was just a great moment,” Ihm said.

The Huskies will take on the Blue Valley North Mustangs in the state semifinals tomorrow, March 10, at 2 p.m. at Wichita State University-Koch Arena. Last time BVNW played BVN, the Huskies defeated the Mustangs 53-52 on Feb. 18. According to Stubblefield, although the Huskies defeated the Mustangs in their last game, there were still things they could have done differently.

“We feel like we didn’t play our best the first game against North. They kept it close so we know we just have to play confident and together and make sure to not let the pressure of the game get to us,” Stubblefield said.

In addition, Ihm mentioned the team’s previous match-ups against North in order to better understand how to beat them.

“We played North four times last year, and beat them three out of the four times,” Ihm said. “This year we’ve only played them once but it was a close game and we won. Our coaches know how to beat North, our team knows how to beat North, it’s just a matter of if they’re not going to beat themselves.”

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About the Writer
Photo of Alyssa Gagnon
Alyssa Gagnon, Writer

Alyssa Gagnon is a senior and writer for “The Express” as well as a designer. This is her third year on staff. Outside of newspaper, Alyssa is involved in soccer, Quill and Scroll, NHS, SNHS and Kay Club. In her free time, she loves to hang out with her friends, travel, play soccer, go to the gym, and listen to music. Alyssa is very thankful to be apart of “The Express” and is excited to see where this year takes her.

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