According to head coach Chris Strathman, junior guard Taylor Robertson still has a ways to go before recovering 100 percent from a broken finger.

That’s not what Circle would tell you.

After missing Tuesday’s game at Buhler, Robertson was back in full force, dropping 30 points en route to a 58-45 win over the No. 6 ranked Thunderbirds.

Robertson was assisted by Mandi Cooks who scored 15 — no other Bullpup scored more than six points.

“Taylor really worked her tail off to stay in shape on the bike and the elliptical machine and whatever else it took,” Strathman said. “For her to be able to play 28 minutes on limited practice time and true conditioning, that tells me she did her work like she was supposed to.”

It was an unknown if Robertson was going to play or not up until Friday afternoon. After practicing for the first time in weeks on Thursday, Strathman felt Robertson was good to go.

He certainly did not plan on playing her over 28 minutes, but did so out of necessity. If she hadn’t had two of her fingers taped together on her shooting hand, it would have been impossible to tell Robertson was even injured at all.

She knocked down her first 3-point attempt to give the Bullpups an early 9-2 lead which forced a Circle timeout. By the time the first quarter ended, the Bullpups were up 20-3 over the sixth-ranked team in Class 4A-Division I.

Circle began the second quarter on a 7-0 run, but Cooks put an end to that with a 3-pointer from the wing. Circle began to find a rhythm in the second quarter, but the duo of Robertson and Cooks were still too much to handle.

Robertson ended the first half by making a contested 3-pointer that gave McPherson a 34-17 lead at the break.

Circle outscored McPherson 14-10 in the third quarter and narrowed the deficit to single digits on a few occasions. But McPherson was never in any serious trouble of losing their lead, and now have a stranglehold on the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League Division III.

“We came out making shots and we were locked in defensively,” Strathman said. “They have some very good players. We knew once they got settled that they were going to go on a run. They are tough to guard.”

Robertson finished with 30 points on 9 of 14 shooting and pulled down 8 rebounds, while Cooks had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

McPherson is now 7-1 on the year and next plays on Tuesday at Augusta.

Contact Gallagher Martin by email at gmartin@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel.