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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Bullpups claim third place in Classic over Andale

  • For the first half, the Bullpups were surely having flashbacks to Friday night against Olathe South and Kylee Kopatich, as Andale’s Rachel Eck was positively on fire, scoring 17 first half points.
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  • For the first half, the Bullpups were surely having flashbacks to Friday night against Olathe South and Kylee Kopatich, as Andale’s Rachel Eck was positively on fire, scoring 17 first half points.
    The second half was a completely different story, however, with McPherson coach Chris Strathman turning to his star senior, Katelyn Loecker, to put the clamps down on Eck, allowing the Pups to pull away for a 56-46 win and claim third place in the 18th annual Mid America Classic.
    “Third place games are never easy,” Strathman said. “It’s a tough game to play in because you want to be in that championship. We and our senior leaders made sure the kids were ready and they did a good job.”
    McPherson bore down on Andale in the first quarter, keeping the Indians from really attacking the lane at all and forcing them to rely on three-point shooting, while ripping off a 12-3 run offensively that gave them a five point lead.
    The Bullpups took a 14-9 lead into the second quarter, but Eck began to get hot for Andale, though, dropping 15 of her 17 first half points in the frame and sparking a 12-2 Indian run that gave them a 25-23 lead at the half.
    The second half was when Strathman made the personnel adjustments, putting Loecker on Eck, and the results were noticeable right away, as she was kept silent for the entirety of the third quarter and only managed a single field goal late in the fourth quarter.
    “(Katelyn) did a little bit better, as far as contending shots,” Strathman said. “She’s obviously six-foot, so that’s a little tougher to shoot over than the five-seven, five-eight we had to start the first half.”
    McPherson still trailed for about half of the third quarter, but a pair of threes from Moira Pyle and Hailey Ruder tied the game up at the 4:09 mark and a long Abby Pedersen two-point bucket gave the Pups the lead back for good.
    Andale made a push in the closing minute of the third, making a six-point swing that closed the gap to 41-39 as time expired, but that was as close as they would get for the rest of the game, with McPherson standing tall at the final buzzer.
    McPherson finished with a 36.6 field goal percentage on 15-of-41 shooting. They were 6-of-13 from three-point range and had a strong showing from the foul line, going 20-of-29.
    Eck’s 19 led all scorers and she ended up being the only Indian to reach double digits.
    Loecker picked up a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Pedersen, who had won the Classic’s three point competition earlier in the day, had 14 points and Ruder finished with 10. Janae Barnes had a monster game under the glass, picking up 14 rebounds, including 12 on defense.
    Page 2 of 2 - These two teams will lock horns again tonight in a non-league match-up, which Strathman admitted was fairly unusual.
    “It’s not very common, but it does happen during mid-season tournament time,” he said. “They’ll make some adjustments and we’ll make some tweaks here and there and we’ll see what happens.”
    Tip off from the Roundhouse tonight is at 6 p.m.
    McPherson (56) — Ruder 3-6 2-5 10; Pyle 3-5 0-0 8; Willems 0-1 2-2 2; Pedersen 4-13 4-4 14; Barnes 1-6 4-7 6; Loecker 4-10 8-11 16.
    Andale (46) — Eck, R. 6-14 4-6 19; Eck, J. 2-6 1-2 5; Meyer 2-9 0-0 6; Rowland, E. 2-8 0-0 5; Rowland, L. 3-5 1-2 7; Ebert 2-3 0-0 4.

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