It was the turnaround of all turnarounds.
McPherson High’s girls, on the verge of getting run out of their own house here Friday night, turned the tables on defending Class 5A champion Andover Central with a stunning 32-point run to come away with a bizarre 48-29 victory to finish the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule at 4-1.
The Bullpups found themselves down 20-6 and simply searching for answers when they unfurled a 13-0 run to close out the first half down just 20-19.
But it didn’t stop there. Not even close.
MHS held the Jaguars scoreless in the third quarter while putting up 14 points itself and then scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to complete the stunning 32-0 run.
Andover Central went 12:51 without a point and MHS turned what would have been an ego-sapping loss into a total team victory, as it was accomplished without senior standout Caysn Buchman (family obligation), while leading scorer Katelyn Loecker was held to a single field goal and eight points.
But it was that run that everyone will be talking about for a long time.
“I kind of lost track,” MHS coach Chris Strathman said. “I knew it was up there. I know they were stuck on 20 for a long time. We decided to just play straight man (to-man defense) and quit pressing and we quit losing people and we quit giving up second shots. They (Andover Central) really came out to play and hats off to them, and it took us a while to wake up. Once we did, we were pretty good.”
The Jags were determined not to let Loecker punish them inside and basically she was guarded by two players all night. While she was held to single figures, she had 13 rebounds and seven blocks.
A big key was the play of freshman Abby Pedersen, who came off the bench to fire in 15 points, including three 3-pointers when the Bullpups so desperately needed somebody to step up from the outside.
“She hit some shots for us tonight and just came up real big,” Strathman said.
Sarah Gaeddert added 12 important points and combined with Loecker to hit 10 of 10 at the foul line.
MHS, barely shooting 50 percent from the stripe for the season, was money on the uncontested 15-footer, making 17 of 20.
“We’ll definitely take that,” said Strathman, noting the team shot with confidence.
No Jaguar hit for double figures, as Cami Gee and Justyce Perez had eight points apiece.
The victory completed a difficult December schedule for MHS, with the only blemish the season-opening loss to Salina South.
“It was a tough schedule. We would have loved to have won them all, but we didn’t,” Strathman said. “But we learned a lot from that one loss. Going into break, we know what we’ve got to work on and the second half of the season should be exciting.”
The MHS JVs were a 55-13 winner behind 12 points by Ashton Bruner and 10 by Paige Regnier. The freshmen were a 46-26 victor, as Moira Pyle tallied 12 points and Hannah Willems added 11.
Next MHS action is Jan. 4 when Great Bend comes to town.
MHS (48) -- Loving 2 0-0 5; Hein 0 0-1 0; Holle 0 1-2 1; Ruder 1 2-2 5; Bruner 0 0-1 0; Pedersen 5 2-2 15; Tully 0 2-2 2; Gaeddert 4 4-4 12; Loecker 1 6-6 8. Totals -- 13 17-20 48. 3-pointers -- Pedersen 3, Loving 1, Ruder 1.
Andover Central (29) -- Henry 1 0-0 3; Stamp 0 2-2 2; Hulskamp 1 0-0 2; Perez 4 0-0 8; Gee 2 3-4 8; Stiverson 2 2-3 6. Totals -- 10 7-9 29. 3-pointers -- Henry 1, Gee 1.
------
MHS JV (55) -- Becker 1 0-0 2; Swisher 1 0-0 2; Holle 1 0-0 3; Ruder 1 1-2 4; Bruner 6 0-0 12; Pedersen 3 3-3 9; Tully 1 4-6 6; Pyle 2 0-1 5; Regnier 5 0-1 10; Miller 1 0-0 2. Totals -- 23 8-13 55. 3-pointers -- Holle 1, Ruder 1, Pyle 1.
------
MHS frosh (46) -- Willems 3 4-6 11; Pyle 4 2-4 12; Barnes 2 0-0 4; Bate 2 0-0 4; Malm 1 3-4 5; Brewer 0 4-4 4; Becker 2 2-2 6. Totals -- 14 15-20 46. 3-pointers -- Pyle 2, Willems 1.