By Rick Peterson
EMPORIA -- Undefeated and top seed Highland Park didn't play its best basketball in the first half of Thursday's Class 5A boys first-round game, holding a somewhat precarious five-point advantage over No. 8 seed Basehor-Linwood
But coach Mike Williams said there was no panic or consternation in the Scots' locker room at the break, just a message of patience and encouragement.
And coming out of the locker room, the Scots flashed the form that has led to 23 straight victories, with Highland Park building a 15-point lead at the end of the third quarter and leading by as many as 19 in the fourth on the way to a 60-49 victory at White Auditorium.
"I thought we did a good job of just staying poised,'' Williams said. "The game ain't over the first quarter, it's not over the second quarter. Our guys came into the locker room, nobody was panicking, nobody was pointing fingers at anybody.
"We were just trying to figure it out and I thought they did a good job of that as we went through the second half.''
HIghland Park, which has still not had a single-digit game all season, advanced to Friday's 4 p.m. semifinal to face No. 4 seed Andover, a 49-46 first-round winner over No. 5 Maize South.
Highland Park went wire-to-wire for the victory after jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead, but Basehor-Linwood (9-14) was within three (13-10) at the end of the first and got as close as two with 3:25 left in the half on a Breckin McBride 3-pointer before the Scots pushed their lead back to 29-24 at halftime.
Basehor-Linwood scored the first bucket of the second half to cut Hi Park's lead back to three but the Scots responded with a 10-1, including seven points from sophomore Jacorey Robinson, to go up 39-27 with 5:27 left in the third and built their lead to 18 (49-31) before taking a a 51-36 advantage into the fourth.
With the Bobcats paying considerable defensive attention to Highland Park senior standout Bo Aldridge, Robinson took over, scoring nine of his team-high 17 points in the third quarter.
"We just came out with momentum and played fast,'' Robinson said. "We're a speed team, so we just kept running them and following up after that.
"It feels good. Last year we came here and lost in the first round, so we're trying to get a championship this year.''
Highland Park boosted its lead to 19 twice over the first 1:27 of the fourth and the Bobcats got no closer than the final margin.
Senior Tre Richardson joined Robinson in double figures with 11 points and also had five rebounds and four steals while sophomore Jamon Wilson and senior Jahmir Kingcannon scored eight points each and Aldridge seven.
Basehor-Linwood senior Tyson Ruud, a Washburn signee, led all scorers with 22 points.
Both teams shot nearly identical percentages, with Highland Park shooting 47.9 percent and Basehor-Linwood 47.2 percent. The Scots also held a slim 25-23 rebounding edge. Hi Park forced 15 turnovers while turning the ball over nine times itself.
Andover (21-2) earned its semifinal berth with a 49-46 win over Maize South.
HIGHLAND PARK BOYS 60, BASEHOR-LINWOOD 49
Basehor-Linwood 10 14 12 13 -- 49
Highland Park 13 16 22 9 -- 60
Basehor-Linwood (9-14) -- Ruud 9-17 2-2 22, McBride 2-2 2-2 8, Scott 1-4 0-0 3, Brown 4-7 3-4 11, Blankenship 1-4 2-2 5, B. Wilson 0-1 0-0 0, E. Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Gibbs 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-36 9-10 49.
Highland Park (23-0) -- Richardson 5-8 1-3 11, Aldridge 3-9 1-3 7, Kingcannon 2-8 2-2 8, Adams 1-3 1-2 4, Robinson 7-8 3-5 17, Drew-Gregory 1-2 0-0 2, Williams 0-4 0-0 0, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Wilson 3-4 2-2 8, Anderson 1-2 0-0 3, Davis 0-0 0-0 0 . Totals 23-48 10-17 60.
3-point shots -- Basehor-Linwood 6-16 (Ruud 2-7, McBride 2-2, Scott 1-4, Blankenship 1-1, Brown 0-1, B. Wilson 0-1), Highland Park 4-13 (Kingcannnon 2-7, Adams 1-2, Anderson 1-2, Williams 0-2). Total fouls -- Basehor-Linwood 15, Highland Park 14. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- none.