The McPherson High girls found themselves in a bit of a battle during the first half of Tuesday's game against Circle.

The McPherson High girls found themselves in a bit of a battle during the first half of Tuesday's game against Circle.
The Bullpups, coming off a 50 point win Friday against El Dorado, struggled offensively and defensively against the T-Birds, never quite getting out of first gear.
"They were very aggressive and did a good job, defensively, of getting us out of our rhythm," MHS coach Chris Strathman said. "We didn't do a very good job of attacking their pressure and handling things the way we normally do."
The Bullpups struggled to score in the first quarter against the Thunderbird zone defense, but a pair of key three pointers from Abby Pedersen gave MHS a 12-6 advantage at the end of the first frame.
Fouls started playing a role, though, in the second quarter, as both teams were whistled often. Playing time in the quarter for starters Katelyn Loecker and Janae Barnes was virtually non-existent, as both had to sit early in the second with three fouls.
Pedersen and Hailey Ruder stepped up their efforts, however, and quietly put together a late quarter surge that gave the Bullpups a 25-12 lead at halftime.
McPherson made some adjustments at the intermission and came out swinging, easily sliding into their rhythm and outpacing the T-Birds 18-10 thanks to the sharpshooting of Pedersen and Ruder and the aggressive play of Loecker under the rim. Loecker scored nine of her 17 points in the quarter.
The fourth quarter saw both Loecker and Barnes foul out with around five minutes left in the game, with Taylor Scheidegger sitting at four fouls, but, by then, the result wasn't in doubt, as McPherson won 55-36.
"Once Hailey got out of her funk, she really shot the ball well," Strathman said of his point guard's effort. "Abby shot really well, also."
Pedersen led all scorers with 19 points in the win, followed by Loecker's 17. Ruder finished with 12 points, including three buckets from distance, to round out the Bullpups double digit scoring.
Circle was led by Jacy Gibbs with 10 points.
Despite the rocky start, Strathman was pleased with the defensive effort, particularly that of junior Moira Pyle.
"I thought Moira really got after loose balls," Strathman said. "She really had a good, sustained defensive effort."
The JV squad was also a winner Tuesday, defeated the T-Birds 55-36. Brooke Bate led the Bullpups with eight points, followed by Cassidy Wedel and Madison Hoffman, both of whom scored seven. Ally Ulsaker added six for MHS.
The Pups are now off until the Mid America Classic starting next Thursday.
That field includes Andale, Valley Center, Dodge City, Hays, Manhattan, Wichita Southeast and Olathe South. Seedings and first round pairings should be announced today.
McPherson — Ruder 3 3-4 12; Pyle 0 2-2 2; Bate 0 1-3 1; Scheidegger 1 0-0 2; Pedersen 7 3-4 19; Barnes 1 0-2 2; Loecker 8 1-3 17.
Circle — Kirkham, Allyssa 1 2-4 4; Wiebe 1 0-0 2; Highbarger 2 2-4 7; Gibbs 4 2-5 10; Kirkham, Alison 0 2-4 2; Wright 0 1-8 1; Frankenbery 1 2-4 5; Wilson 2 1-4 5.