Only three Bullpups had any offensive output Friday night against Class 6A Washburn Rural, but it was all that was needed as the McPherson High Girls picked up their first win on the young season 49-41.
McPherson never trailed in the game, though the Junior Blues gave MHS all they could handle. Junior Abby Pedersen sparked the Bullpups in the first quarter, draining a three that energized the rest of her teammates, including senior Katelyn Loecker, who added five of her own in the frame to give the Pups a 10-8 advantage after the first quarter.
Washburn Rural would keep fighting, as junior Courtney Winkley began to get hot, hitting a pair of short jumpers to pull the Junior Blues to within five. Morgan Hutchinson would sink her only bucket of the game just moments later, a three pointer that got Washburn Rural to within three with 3:42 left in the half.
That was as close as it would get for the Junior Blues, as Pedersen would get a layup and then Loecker and Hailey Ruder would each hit four foul shots to give MHS a 26-20 advantage at the half.
The Pups (1-1) would feel the heat from the Junior Blues throughout the second half, but led by double digits with seconds left on the clock. A late three pointer left Washburn Rural (1-1) with an eight point deficit as time expired.
MHS head coach Chris Strathman was pleased with the win against a tough opponent.
“I thought our competitive edge showed through tonight,” Strathman said. “We kept fighting off the runs that Washburn Rural would put on us and there were no lead changes, so we did a really good job of maintaining the small cushion we did have.”
Loecker led all scorers with 24 points and picked up the double double with 13 rebounds.
Pedersen added 16 for McPherson, while Ruder chipped in nine, all from the charity stripe.
Winkley had 14 points for Washburn Rural, while Erika Lane added 10.
“(Loecker) came out aggressive and really set the tone for our team,” Strathman said. “And that’s what she should do.”
Strathman also had praise for the efforts of Pedersen.
“She really put the ball on the floor tonight and attacked at the appropriate times and really put pressure on the defense,” he said.
One area Strathman felt his team needed work on was three point shooting, as the Pups were only 9.09 percent for the game, making only one distance bucket.
“It will come,” Strathman said. “We’re going to breakout, hopefully this Tuesday night. First two games, obviously, we struggled, but that’s not indicative of the types of shooters that we are.”
Friday was MHS’ only home game before Christmas. The Bullpups are on the road against Mulvane on Tuesday. Tip off is at 6 p.m.
Page 2 of 2 - McPherson — Ruder 0-5 9-12 9; Pederson 7-14 1-3 16; Loecker 7-13 10-11 24.
Washburn Rural — Weingartner 1-4 0-0 3; Lane 2-7 1-4 10; Browne 1-5 0-0 3; Hutchinson 1-2 0-0 3; Michaelis 1-6 2-3 4; Musselman 1-4 2-4 4; Winkley 5-8 4-5 14.