The shooting slump stretched over the majority of the conference season, a significant enough drought that Bishop Miege junior Semaj Ray worked daily on fine-tuning his mechanics. He changed his release point. He added arc to his shot. All in an effort to regain confidence.
He picked an opportune time to heat up.
Ray made four three-pointers, and Bishop Miege never trailed in a 65-53 win Saturday against Basehor-Linwood in a Kansas Class 4A substate championship game.
“I just kept shooting, because I felt like it would eventually come,” Ray said. “After that first one fell tonight, that got me going.”
In a 19-point outing, Ray started with a pair of threes in the opening quarter, though it was his third-quarter sequence that swung the game in the Stags’ favor for good.
Basehor-Linwood, 19-3, trailed by 11 points after the opening possession of the third quarter but tied the game only 3 minutes later.
Ray quickly ended the spurt. He initiated an old-fashioned three-point play on a fastbreak, then stepped back behind the arc for a deep three-pointer less than a minute later.
The Stags, 19-3, led by at least five the rest of the way.
“Those were two huge plays,” Bishop Miege coach Rick Zych said. “They had really turned the momentum on us and were playing with a lot more energy than we were.”
A zone defense calmed the tide.
After getting in foul trouble, Bishop Miege turned to a 2-3 zone to prevent Basehor-Linwood’s dribble-penetration. As a result, Basehor-Linwood managed only 10 points in the final quarter.
Freshman Jeremiah Robinson added 18 points for Bishop Miege, and Francesco Badocchi scored 17.
Senior Jack Dale jump-started the third-quarter comeback attempt for Basehor-Linwood and finished with 17 points.
“This was two really great (Class) 4A teams going at it,” Zych said. “We feel very fortunate to leave here with a victory on their home floor.”