It's a tradition that never goes out of style: the McPherson High School boys and girls basketball teams punched their tickets to the state tournament after winning the Class 4A DI Sub-State Finals. The Roundhouse was jam-packed with Bullpup fans as this was the last time to see the seniors play in McPherson.
Girls: Lady Pups 59, Ulysses 22
It was an emotional night for McPherson's all-time leading scorer Taylor Robertson as she walked off the court in tears as the crowd gave her and senior teammate Mandi Cooks a standing ovation after playing in the Roundhouse for four years.
"It still doesn't feel real because I remember playing here as a freshman, and I think it's the greatest thing to ever play here. I still think that now, but it still doesn't seem like it's the last time I ever. It hasn't even sunk in yet," Robertson said.
Robertson went five-of-five from behind the arc through the game.
"I don't mind when Taylor shoots the ball. We want her to get open and give her looks. She put so much work into this. It's just memories of her teammates, and her dad, who's no longer with us. It was just a special moment," Lady Pups head coach Chris Strathman said after the game.
The Lady Pups' defense was also a standout on Saturday. The Lady Tigers were shut down offensively, only making eight field goals out of 37 attempts. They made no 3-pointers all night, going 0-for-10 in attempts.
Since the Lady Pups went out with a bang, the team is excited to focus on the state tournament coming up.
"They are excited, even though it's a tradition, yet it's never given in this tournament, and they need to treat it like it was special because it is," Strathman said.
Boys: Bullpups 58, Buhler 33
The Bullpups have a tradition of their own before their sub-state title game. All the players on the roster went out to Luke's Barbershop to get a flat-top fade, which they call the "Pup Cut." It has been a tradition that has stood by the team for over 30 years.
The Bullpups knocked off their rival Crusaders to claim their sub-state title. Both teams came out aggressively in the first half of the game. Bodies were flying on the floor, frustrations from both coaches and there was a technical foul from Buhler that led Ben Pyle to shoot three free-throw attempts.
Pyle was the only player for the Bullpups to score over 20 points as he finished his last night at the Roundhouse with 27. If it wasn't for the Bullpups' struggles to make their free-throws, shooting 11-for-24 at the line, it would've been higher scored than it was Saturday night.
"I thought we did a pretty good job being locked in and just being concentrated by keeping our man in front of us. They're tough because they drive it, put their head down. "Early on we did a good job executing in what we did. We did a good job getting downfield as far as driving it. Other than our struggles from the free-throw line, we would've been up by twenty at the half," Bullpups head coach Kurt Kinnamon said after the game.
Both Mason and Jayse Alexander would usually be in double-figures as well but struggled to get out of foul troubles. Both combined nine total fouls the entire game. Jake Alexander was the Bullpups' second-leading scorer with 11 points, shooting 50 percent from the basket, and going two-for-three from the 3-point range.
"We just like to get each other involved in a way. We don't care who scores the point, we just want to do it as a team," Pyle said.
The tournament brackets for both girls and boys has been released: the boys hold the No.1 seed, and will play eighth-seed Spring Hill High School at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. The girls hold the No. 3 seed and will face the sixth-seed Augusta High School at 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday. Both games will be at Tony's Pizza Event Center in Salina.
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