The Wildcats of El Dorado have hit their stride as a team at the most opportune time of the season the state tournament.
El Dorado took their strong team play from their substate championship run into Salina Thursday night knocking off the #3 seeded Basehor Linwood Bobcats 66-60 to move to the 4A Division I semifinals Friday.
The heavily favorites Bobcat team came out on fire in the opening moments of the game jumping out to a 6-0 lead and as much as a 10-2 lead before the Wildcats got their wheels rolling.
El Dorado fought hard in the first quarter to keep the game in reach but Basehor Linwood a perennial powerhouse led at 19-14 after the opening eight minutes of play.
The Bobcats used their size and physical play underneath the Wildcats basket to out rebound El Dorado 15-5 in the first half which led to 10 second chance points for Linwood.
The Wildcats however stayed with the Bobcats and managed to outscore Basehor in the second quarter 16-14 with sharp shooting going 10-16 from the field in the first halft for a stellar 62.5 percent.
Basehor Linwood held a slim 33-30 lead over the Wildcats at halftime.
The Wildcats came out on fire in the second half looking like a determined team as the Bobcats began to feel pressure.
El Dorado took its first lead of the game early in the third quarter and went up by as much as 41-36 before the Bobcats made a late run to regain the lead heading to the fourth.
Both squads managed 13 points each in the third quarter and the Bobcats led 46-43 over El Dorado going to the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats turned it on in the fourth quarter offensively and defensively. The Wildcats scored a game high 23 points in the fourth and limited a potent Basehor offense to just 14 points in the final eight minutes of the game.
After being outrebounded 15-5 in the first half the Wildcats got strong on their board in the second half and out rebounded the Bobcats 17-14 to close out the game. Basehor was able to manage just three second chance points in the second half.
The Wildcats got huge and one buckets late from Travis House and Alec Hildreth. Jared Haury and Johnstone Scott had to make clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the game for El Dorado.
The Wildcats shot a phenomenal 19/33 from the field for the game at 57.6 percent while Basehor was 24/55 for 43.6 percent.
El Dorado was a stellar 15-18 from the line in the second half and went 24-30 in the game. Basehor was 11-17 from the line for the game.
The Wildcats were led offensively by senior Travis House who scored a game high 23 points on 6/9 shooting that included a 3-pointer and going a perfect 10/10 from the line. House added three rebounds, two assists and two blocks on the night. House scored 17 of his points in the second half.
Jared Haury poured in 19 points on 6/11 shooting which included going 3/5 from beyond the arch and 4/4 from the charity stripe. Haury pulled down six boards and had a blocked shot.
Alec Hildreth reach double digits scoring 10 points going 2/2 from the field and 6/8 from the line. Hildreth added three boards, three assists and a blocked shot.
Johnstone Scott scored seven points on 3/5 shooting from the field. Scott had four boards and an assist.
Wes Haines added five points and Garrett Howland added two points.
El Dorado takes on Topeka-Hayden at 4:45 p.m. Friday in the state semifinals.
Notes: Basehor Linwood's top scorers Patrick Muldoon 16 points and Tim Sanders 13 points scored 22 of their 29 points in the first half. Linwood's loss to the Wildcats was their first to 4A competition this season.