Defense wins championships, and the McPherson High School girls basketball team put on a defensive effort to defeat Olathe South High School 57-32 and will move on to the finals Saturday night at 7:15 p.m.
The Lady Pups started off hot in the first quarter after senior guard Taylor Robertson shot three consecutive 3-pointers to give McPherson an early lead. But despite trailing 22-10 in the first quarter, Olathe South wouldn’t be denied and kept attacking inside to keep it a close game. The Falcons scored 12 points inside the paint and 13 points off turnovers, which kept them in alive going into the second half.
“I credit their defense. They do a lot of switching that squeezes up in our sets and we didn’t have that many sets like we normally do, but that was the type of defense they play,” said McPherson head coach Chris Strathman.
After making major adjustment at halftime, the Lady Pups managed to regain their dominance in the second half, allowing the Falcons only five points a piece in the final two quarters. Only one player for Olathe scored in double figures, Caroline Harshbarger, who finished the game with 14 points. Everyone else was shut down by the depth of the Lady Pups’ defense.
What stood out the most for Strathman was the depth of his bench and the attacking of the boards all night. Both Cassie and Mandi Cooks along with Maggie Leaf combined for 7 for 8 from the floor.
“Our post play was excellent. I thought they controlled the boards the best that they could, but they all just played really well. They all just got after it. I’m proud the way play inside this game,” Strathman said.
With little time to rest, McPherson will face off against the reigning 6A champs Manhattan Indians for the Mid America Classic title. Just like the Lady Pups, the Indians are loaded with talent. Their toughest task includes shutting down the Kansas State University commit Christianna Carr.
“They’re obviously very tough offensively. We have to be locked in on her (Carr). They have a lot of weapons that we have to do well defending. They got some really good players we have to be ready for,” Strathman said.
Shawnee Mission Northwest defeated Hayes 36-22
Ulysses defeated Shawnee Mission South 39-35
Manhattan defeated Wichita Northwest 46-29
Games on Saturday
Shawnee Mission South vs Hays at 2 p.m.
Ulysses vs Shawnee Mission at 3:45
Witchita Northwest vs Olathe South at 5:30 p.m.
McPherson vs Manhattan at 7:15