Lady Bullpups open tourney with win

By William Snesrud
McPherson Sentinel

Grace Pyle

Grace Pyle (24) opened the Mid America Basketball Classic with a  huge night — 24 points while also leading the team in rebounds and steals with six each. [FILE PHOTO]

MCPHERSON – While Valley Center was probably much better than their 4-6 record showed, the McPherson girls basketball team were still able to play four quarters of consistent ball and score a convincing 19-point, 64-45 win over the Hornets on Wednesday in the first round of the 2021 Mid-America Classic.

After putting up 21 points in the first quarter, the Lady Bullpups put an additional 15 points on the board in the second quarter, including a 9-0 run after Valley Center tied the game at 27-27, to take a nine-point, 36-27, lead into the halftime break. While they pushed the lead out to 12 by the end of the third quarter, McPherson doubled up on the Hornets in scoring during the final eight minutes of play to earn the final 19-point victory.

While listening in on a post-game radio interview, Lady Bullpup Head Coach Chris Strathman was pointing out that, “That was easily the best I’ve seen Valley Center play and I have watched four full games of film. At halftime they were hitting nearly 70% from the field and yet we were still up on them by nine points. We did a much better job in the second half overall of staying on their shooters.”

Both teams ended the night with solid games shooting the ball as the Lady Bullpups connected on 57% of their shots from the field while the Hornets hit on 48.3%. The two big stat numbers that favored McPherson were in turnovers where the Lady Bullpups only gave up the ball 13 times while the Hornets turned it over 20 times, and on the boards where McPherson held a 13-rebound advantage, 26-13.

Individually, Valley Center was led by Ali Coash and Anna Eldridge who hit for 14 and 11 points, respectively.

For the Lady Bullpups, it was Grace Pyle with the huge night as she scored 24 points while also leading the team in rebounds and steals with six each. Kassidy Beam chipped in with 13 while dishing out four assists and Lauren Labertew scored 11 including a last second toss in at the buzzer to end the first half.

The Lady Bullpups are now 8-2 for the season and will play Wellington at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in their second game of the Mid-America Tournament. If they win, McPherson will play for the tournament championship on Saturday.

Valley Center vs. MCPHERSON

SCORING: 1 2 3 4 FINAL

Valley Center 14 13 11 7 45

LADY BULLPUPS 21 15 14 14 64

TEAM STATS:

Valley Center: FG: 15-31; 3PT: 6-15; FT: 9-15; AST: 9; RBS: 13; TO: 20; STLS: 8; FOULS: 13.

LADY BULLPUPS: FG: 24-42; 3PT: 5-13; FT: 11-15; AST: 10; RBS: 26; TO: 13; STLS: 15; BLKS: 1; FOULS: 12.

Valley Center: Ali Coash – 14; Anna Eldridge – 11; Kelsi Kinniburgh – 8; Olivia Niedens – 6; Maci George – 3; Anna Oliverson – 3.

LADY BULLPUPS INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS:

SCORING: Grace Pyle – 24; Kassidy Beam – 13; Lauren Labertew – 11; Emma Malm – 6; Petyon Howard – 4; Cameron Pelzel – 4; Karter Alvord – 2.

3-POINTERS MADE: Grace Pyle – 2; Kassidy Beam – 2; Lauren Labertew – 1.

ASSISTS: Kassidy Beam – 4; Grace Pyle – 3; Emma Malm – 2.

REBOUNDS: Grace Pyle – 6; Peyton Howard, Lauren Labertew – 4; Kassidy Beam, Cameron Pelzel – 3.

STEALS: Grace Pyle – 6; Emma Malm – 3; Kassidy Beam, Lauren Labertew – 2.