Its been four years since the last time the McPherson’s girls basketball team won the Mid America Classic. Now with the 61-52 win over the reigning 6A Champs Manhattan Indians, the Lady Pups finally get to take home the trophy in their home court.
“It was very intense. To knock them off was huge for us, obviously for our seniors to get the tournament win, it’s something we wanted to do since 2012 and something they wanted to do and waiting for a few years for it. When you get the opportunity to play another great 6A team and coming off with a win is just really big for us.” Bullpups coach Chris Strathman said.
Because of their efforts, the McPherson High School girls basketball team has been named the Great Plains Federal Credit Union Team of the Week, presented by the McPherson Sentinel.
Defense was key for the Lady Pups in taking on the Indians. At first Manhattan was giving the Pups a hard time in the first quarter when the Indians led 14-10. Defending their top players was going to be a tough task for the Lady Pups.
Both Riley Hett and Emma Ruddle for McPherson were responsible for guarding Christianna Carr, who finished the game with 14 points for Manhattan. Stratham credited both of them in containing the Kansas State commit. He also gave props to the Lady Pups for shutting down both Kia Wilson and Megan Worthington, who finished with a combined five points the entire game. Yet, Wilson was the one who scored all the five points while Worthington was scoreless.
“Holding Worthington was key. Hannah had primarily responsibility and defensively they did a good job on No.24 Worthington,” Stratham said.
Mandi Cooks also came through for the Lady Pups despite not being 100 percent as she is still recovering from a torn achilles injury she sustained last summer. Yet, she was six-for-six in the paint and finished the night with 15 points.
“She was awesome. She only rushed a couple things. Other than that she took her time, finished it and she’s really a smart a player, Strathman said. “I’m very proud of her and all the work that put in and to come back and be ready for this moment.”
Knowing it has been four years since the last time the Lady Pups won the classic, nobody is more grateful for this victory than Taylor Robertson. Robertson led the Lady Pups with 23 points. Along with being the four-time 3-point champion and being the team’s MVP, for her, it’s no comparison the team trophy meant more to her than her individual accomplishments.
“It feels amazing how I’m feeling right now. It feels great to beat a good team like Manhattan and play very well against them. It was just a team win.” Robertson said.
“We’ve been waiting for this momentum and we were able to go get it. We’ve been working hard everyday and just try to be ready for this moment and to go out and get it.”
With a whole week until their next game, the Lady Pups will have all the time to rest and recuperate for a few days. Then it’s time to head back to the gym with their focus on Newton High School, which will be on Feb. 5 at Newton.
“This is a huge momentum thing,” Strathman said. “We got a lot of things we need to get better at. We’re far from that and far from where we could be. So we just need to keep on working and great things will come for this team.”