The 2018 inaugural Mayor's Cup turned out to be an overnight success on Wednesday as the McPherson College, and the Central Christian basketball teams collided once again but for higher stakes. The atmosphere was intense with the student section divided into two on the west side of the Roundhouse. The Lady Tigers 71-56, while the Tigers' men edged out the Bulldogs, 68-60.
Women's Basketball: McPherson College 71 Central Christian College 56
After a strong fourth quarter, the McPherson women's basketball team defeated Central Christian College, 71-56, giving the Lady Bulldogs the Mayor's Cup and continuing their winning streak at 4-0.
It was the second time the two teams faced off this year, with only just a week of preparation after battling in the McPherson Classic, where the Lady Bulldogs beat the Lady Tigers 75-53. Unlike last week, it was a tight ball game all through the first three quarters.
McPherson was down one player after losing Abbie Banks due to an injury during practice. Turnovers played a role during the matchup as both combined for 56 turnovers the entire game. For the Lady Tigers, they were able to edge out McPherson with a 17-16 lead after a buzzer beater by Tania Lowe. McPherson continued to struggle offensively in the second quarter, while the Lady Tigers were still in control leading as high as five points. Then there was a spark after Brook DeLuca made both her free throws. All of a sudden, the game was tied after three-pointers made by DeLuca, who tie with Brittany Roberts with 17 points apiece, and Sonerka "Slim" White. McPherson went on a 10-0 run going into halftime.
"That's how a four-year senior suppose to play. This is her last one against Central, and she wasn't going let us lose that one," head coach Josh Nichols said about DeLuca. "We rushed a lot of shots we shouldn't make no matter where we play at."
In the second half, while it was still a close game, McPherson still had the edge. Tigers went cold in the fourth quarter in the last 20 minutes after shooting 30 percent from the floor. Bulldogs picked up a big lead, outscoring the Lady Tigers 21-15. Roberts controlled the board as she recorded a double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds.
"Brittany (Roberts) has done a great job for us all year long," Nichols said. "She's kind of a work horse She got to do a little better in the post , and work on her moves a little bit. She works so hard and I think she'll be fine. I'm excited to help her for the next two years, and the rest of this year too."
As McPherson remains undefeated,they will return to the Sports Center to host Dakota State University on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Lady Tigers are still in search of their first win as they will be on the road to take on University of Nebraska-Kearney next Wednesday, Nov.14 at 5:30 p.m.
Men's Basketball: Central Christian College 68 McPherson College 60
The Tigers made a comeback victory over the Tigers after struggling in the first half. The Tigers are now 1-1 after defeating the Bulldogs 68-60.
"We knew that Tim (Swartzendruber) will have his team ready. He's a great coach, and I respect him a lot and his program in what he was able to accomplished over there," Tony Romero said. "We knew we were able to get a punch at some point of the game. I thought the first half we did a good job defending and keeping them off the paint. We probably could've been a little better off . We had some sloppy turnovers. Watching their first game, I wasn't shocked that were going to zone, but we still settled with 16-of-28 shots in the first half were 3s. Our defense was solid in the first half."
In the first half, it was all Tigers as they lead as high as 16 points. The Bulldogs struggled to get a shot off as they went 8-of-33 in field goals. Romero also credited his bench players to continue the energy while they are still fresh. It was 35-22 at halftime.
The tables were turned in the second half after the Bulldogs made a comeback after a 14-2 run. After a 3-pointer by Chamaje Barideaux, the Bulldogs got their first lead of the night, 45-34 with 10:26 left. Barideaux would hit another 3-pointer to make it 48-43. All of a sudden, the Bulldogs are on an 8-0 run with less than eight minutes left. The Bulldogs outscored the Tigers 26-8 at the beginning of the second half. The game tied at 50 apiece.
After making some adjustments and slowing down the tempo, the Tigers were able to rally back led by T.J. Williams, who tied the game up with six minutes left. CCC continued to drain 3s as they shot 30.8 percent of the night with the help of Andrew Epps from the wing. Both McPherson and Central Christian went back-and-forth in the last five minutes, before Epps and Paul Ard went clutch with a back-to-back 3-pointer to close out the game.
Four Tigers finished with double-digit points led by Steve Kuminga, who scored 12 points of the Night. Barideaux led the Bulldogs with 17 points as a reserved player.
"In the second half, I was so proud of Paul Ard. He had such a bad game in shooting the other night. He made two big 3s for us. Steve (Kuminga) and Andrew (Epps) made big plays, and I thought I was really happy for our seniors the way they finished the game off," Romero said.
"You have no choice but to get better in a game like this ad the most exciting about this, when you play here in front of this many people and the atmosphere, we approached it all week," Romero continued. "It's an opportunity to get better and get ready for conference. It's going to be a big game every single night with the intensity and possession matters. I'm just proud of our guys."
With the victory, the Tigers improved to 1-1, but will have little time to rest as they return to their home court on Thursday Night to take on Manhattan Christian College for the Classic for Christ game at 8 p.m. The Bulldogs drop to 3-1of the year, but they will have plenty time to rest and bounce back when they take on Oklahoma Wesleyan University next Wednesday, Nov.14 at 8 p.m. in the Sports Center.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports