The Andover High School girls basketball team may have been the No.14 seed, but they didn't play like it as they took No.3 seed McPherson High School to the limit, but the Lady Pups found a way to pull through in their 62-49 victory over the Lady Trojans in the opening round of Class 5A Sub-State Tournament
The Lady Pups started strong with a 7-2 run, but Andover caught up to McPherson with a 5-2 run of their own. Strathman had to switch things up defensively. Lakyn Schiefereke hit a corner-three at the buzzer to end the first quarter at 16-9.
McPherson picked up a massive lead at 28-17 after reaching the four-minute mark. However, Andover's Shanti Henry made a three-pointer to keep it a single digit game. Both teams continued to exchange baskets with less than a minute left. McPherson led Andover 31-24 at halftime.
"It wasn't a surprise we were pushed," Lady Pups Head Coach Chris Strathman said. "We gave them a few more open looks from three, for sure, than we wanted to, but anytime a team can shoot like they can, they are never really out of it."
Grace Pyle had the hot hands for McPherson as she made back-to-back three-pointers, giving McPherson their largest lead of the night at 39-27 early in the third quarter. Hannah Hageman, who was scoreless in the first half, also set the tone for McPherson with five more points. McPherson was on a 7-0 run with 3:53 left in the third. Pyle was already at double-figures with 15 points, which she finished in the end after the game. The Lady Trojans were not out of it yet as they found a way to make it a 10-point game after going on a 13-2 run. Andover once again found a way to keep it a tighter game after trailing as high as 19 points.McPherson led 48-41 to end the quarter.
"I told them at the timeout that it was on me a little bit for letting it go that far," Strathman said. "They made a nice run and fortunately we were able to hold them off. Good effort by us, but also matched by Andover. I thought they played real well tonight."
Emma Cunningham and Kylee Gaddis had kept the Trojans in the game, along with Henry's outside shooting. Five minutes left, the Bullpups led 54-45 in the fourth quarter. Emma Ruddle reached double-digits with 10 points after making two straight shots. Andover ran out of gas and has not made any of their baskets from behind the arc. Andover had no choice but to foul McPherson as the Lady Pups would run away with a win.
Three Bullpups finished in double-digits. Along with Pyle's 15-point performance, Schiefereke was 6-for-6 from the free throw line and was the second leading scorer with 12 points. Three Lady Trojans reached double figures with Gaddis being the top leader with 18 points, Cunningham finished with 13 and Henry scored 11 in their losing effort.
The Bullpups will advance to sub-state finals to take on Bishop Carroll High School, who defeated Newton High School, on Friday at 7 p.m.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports