The McPherson High School girls basketball team never trailed Andover, but they never led by double digits.
The Bullpups could not pull away from a pesky Andover team Tuesday night at the Roundhouse, but did manage to hold on for a 48-45 win. It will not go down as the team’s best performance of the season, but head coach Chris Strathman is pleased to be 5-1 at the semester break.
“Happy to get the win against a team that really pushed us tonight,” Strathman said. “Our girls aren’t happy with the way they played. We never really had a big run, and credit Andover for that — they really played well tonight.”
The Bullpups started the game off right and looked primed to put Andover away early. Taylor Robertson knocked down a pair of early 3-pointers for a six point McPherson lead.
But Andover closed the final two minutes of the first quarter on a 5-0 run, cutting the McPherson lead down to one point.
Again, the Bullpups started the second quarter well, but failed to finish. McPherson led by eight with 2:35 left in the half, but allowed Andover to crawl back to within two. However, a Robertson 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left gave McPherson a 28-23 lead at halftime.
Grace Pyle came off the bench to nail two 3-pointers in the game. Her second triple came with 1:18 left in the third quarter, and it gave McPherson its largest lead of the game at 41-32.
The Bullpups maintained a steady lead for most of the fourth quarter, but failed to put away the Trojans in the final minute. With 43 seconds left, Robertson found a wide open Riley Hett for an easy layup to put the Pups up five.
The Bullpups forced a defensive stop on the following possession, which should have been the dagger. Instead of fouling immediately, Andover pressured the Pups into a turnover at midcourt. The Trojans turned it into an easy layup, clawing to within three with 15 seconds left.
Out of the timeout, Robertson was fouled following the inbound pass. The normally reliable Robertson went to the line for a one-and-one, but missed the front end.
Andover’s Shanti Henry, who led the team with 20 points, had an open look at a potential game-tying 3-pointer, but her shot was a little too strong, and the Bullpups survived a scare.
“I thought they competed harder than we did tonight,” Strathman said, “and that’s hard to accept.”
Robertson finished with a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds. The senior also had six assists and two steals in 31 minutes of action.
Hett was busy on the defensive end of the floor, but also finished with nine points and four assists. Pyle chipped in with eight points on 3 of 5 shooting.
The Bullpups, now 5-1, are off until Jan. 2 when Buhler comes to town.
Contact Gallagher Martin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel