FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Sunrise Christian (Bel Aire, Kan.) basketball coach Kyle Linsted propped himself up on the gym wall after his team’s 53-24 Signature Series semifinal defeat of Barking Abbey (London) Friday at the City of Palms Classic.
While Barking Abbey had to go through customs and a long flight to Florida to get to the event, Linsted’s journey was probably a little more arduous.
The Buffaloes, who are No. 6 in the Super 25 boys basketball rankings, got a new 32-passenger bus and christened it by driving 26 hours nonstop to get to the tournament. The team left at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday and arrived in Fort Myers at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.
“Me, two assistant coaches and I have been in bus school for the last week and a half,” Linsted said. “We passed our tests the morning that we came. … We don’t have real licenses. We have the paper ones, so we were basically learning how to drive the bus on this trip. If I had been the only one that passed, I would have been ticked. To come to Florida, to come to what many say is the premier high school tournament in the country, that’s definitely the way to christen the bus.”
The trip meant for a lot of fast-food stops along the way, which may have explained why the team led only 19-17 at halftime.
“We would think, it’s three hours, they just ate, but every time we stopped for gas, they would go in and get a full meal,” Linsted said. “They probably ate like 14 meals on this trip. If you ate that much McDonald’s you would be sluggish too.”