The McPherson High School girls basketball continued to struggle in shooting as they fell to the reigning 6A Champs Derby High School 44-42.
With the loss, the Lady Pups drop to 2-1 on the season. The loss snaps a 23-game winning streak dating back to last year.
Of the Lady Pups' tough task was to guard Derby's top player Kennedy Brown. With three different girls assigned to stay on the Oregon State commit, she was able to finish the night with only 11 points.
"I told them that I was proud of them. They executed the game plan," Lady Pups interim coach Mike Reith said. "We played Kennedy Brown, who is 6'6 Division-1 player and held her to 11 points. There was three of our girls that were assigned to her, kind of sharing the load, and they did a tremendous job."
Derby had an early lead in the first quarter, going on a 7-0 run. Maggie Leaf got into foul trouble early, so McPherson relied on their shooting from outside, and despite making some good looks, they were not going in.
"I'm sure they're frustrated. The first three games we just haven't shot like we know that we can shoot," Reith said. "I think it's a little bit of is adjusting to life after Taylor Robertson. Now it's on them, and so they'll get it figured out. We got tremendous shooters, and it's going to happen. I still believe it's going to be sooner or later. It just didn't happen to us tonight."
Lakyn Schiefereke shot 3-for-4 from behind the arc and put up nine points in the first half. However, she went scoreless for the rest of the game.
Derby remained in control as they held a 19-12 lead with less than four minutes in the second quarter. One of the Bullpups' biggest miscues was their struggles to make their free throws. In the first half, the Lady Pups went 0-for-5 on the line and finished the night with three made free throws out of 11.
"That was surprising," Reith said. "We're normally a really solid free throw shooting team, and it just didn't go."
Derby recorded their first double-digit lead, having the Lady Pups trail 23-12, and ended the second quarter on a 10-0 run. The Lady Pups were able to rally back in the third quarter after a 5-0 run in the first two minutes. The Bullpups would outscore the Lady Panthers, 12-6.
"To come back and cut it to eight in the third quarter, we spend a lot of energy," Reith said. "That's a big hill to climb against the best team in the state. I told them that we did everything that we asked. Are there things we need to get better at? For sure."
However, in the fourth quarter, it was all Derby as they outscored McPherson 10-2. McPherson continued to get open-look shots, but to no avail. McPherson shot a total of 26 percent from the floor and 36 percent from behind the arc. Grace Pyle was the only one in double figures with 10 points coming off the bench.
McPherson drops to 2-1 of the year. Next game, they will be on the road as they take on their league rivals Buhler High School at 6:30 p.m.