Try as she might, Taylor Robertson could not do it all on offense.
And when the McPherson High School Lady Bullpups had their worst offensive quarter of the season, Olathe South was there to capitalize.
The Bullpups led 21-18 at halftime but were outscored 13-0 in the third quarter, which propelled Olathe South to a 46-37 win Friday night in the semifinals of the Mid America Classic. McPherson will take on Valley Center for third place at 5:30 p.m. while Olathe South moves on to the championship game against Manhattan.
“The third quarter really decided the game,” head coach Chris Strathman said. “You can’t put up a zero against a great team and expect to win. Hats off to their defense, they really made us work.”
Robertson led all scorers with 23 points. She also had six rebounds and dished out three assists. Mandi Cooks was the next closest scorer with eight points, but the Bullpups did not have the balance offensively to compete with the No. 3 ranked team in Class 6A.
The Bullpups weren’t able to get on the board until nearly four minutes into the game. They trailed by six at one point, but went on a 5-0 run in the final minute of the first quarter to cut the Olathe South lead to 11-10.
Robertson opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to give the Bullpups a lead they would keep for most of the half. McPherson won the second quarter 11-7 to take a three-point lead into the break.
But it was all downhill from there.
It’s been a long time since a team has shutout the Bullpups in a quarter, and Olathe South did just that. The scoring drought started with 1:47 remaining in the first half, and lasted all the way until Robertson made a pair of free throws with 7:11 in the fourth.
The Bullpups did put up their highest scoring quarter of the game in the fourth, scoring 16 points, but it was not enough to top Olathe South who put up 15 points in the final quarter. McPherson never got within seven points in the fourth.
“We weren’t able to execute our offense at all, and they did a great job of pushing us out of our comfort zone,” Strathman said. “They were way more physical defensively. That was 6A basketball we just got a taste of. We’ve got to get stronger and tougher with that because we may see it again.”
The Bullpups were 9 of 39 from the field for 23 percent. The lone bright spot came from the free throw line, where the Bullpups made 15 of 20 for 75 percent.
Strathman knows his team will get a good test Saturday night against Valley Center. The Hornets were able to hang with Manhattan for three complete quarters before the top-seeded Indians went on a 23-2 run to close the game.
“The key will be to bounce back mentally and physically,” Strathman said. “We know Valley Center really pushed Manhattan for three quarters. We expect Valley to come out very strong and we’ll have to be ready.”
On the consolation side, Hays breezed past Wichita Southeast, 57-36, to set up a fifth place game against Dodge City. Hays was led by Kallie Leiker’s 13 points.
Dodge City took care of Andale, 41-32, led by Tia Bradshaw’s 13 points and nine rebounds.
Saturday’s conclusion begins with Andale and Wichita Southeast at 11 a.m. and concludes with the championship game at 7:15 p.m.
Contact Gallagher Martin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel.