Lady Bullpups nip Circle, claim title

By William Snesrud
McPherson Sentinel
McPherson's Grace Pyle (24) , shown in action from earlier this season, scored 30 of McPherson's 37 points in a win against Circle of Towanda. [FILE]

MCPHERSON – They had to battle for it and needed a senior to offer the offensive scoring to get it done, but the McPherson girls got it done on Friday with a 37-29 win over Circle in the Roundhouse – they became the AVCTL Division III champions again, making them outright title holders every year since 2012.

Shooting just 34% for the game, the Lady Bullpups began the game with a flourish by scoring 10 points in less than four minutes but were unable to score more than a single point the rest of the way to halftime and trailed the Lady T-Birds 18-11 at the break. In that final quarter and a half of the first half, McPherson went scoreless on 14 attempts from the field.

The outright title looked to be in trouble when the score was 22-13 in favor of Circle midway through the third quarter until all-state senior Grace Pyle put the Lady Bullpups on her shoulders offensively and McPherson not only caught up, but they closed out the game with a 9-0 run to earn the hard fought final eight-point victory.

Pyle finished the game scoring 30 of the team’s 37 points, including connecting on four three-pointers. The Lady Bullpups were playing without Emma Malm who was injured, and Kassidy Beam was held to just one point.

Circle was led by Madi Michaelis with 14 points while the Lady T-Birds all-state candidate Kimalee cook was held to just five points thanks to the strong defense of Lady Bullpup Lauren Labertew according to McPherson head coach Chris Strathman.

With the hard-fought victory, the Lady Bullpups finish the regular season 17-3 overall and a perfect 10-0 in league games. They now prepare to play Pratt at home in the Roundhouse on Tuesday in the first round of substate. Pratt will come into the game with a season mark of 5-15.

The Lady Bullpups junior varsity nipped Circle 43-40 thanks to Cameron Pelzel and Emily Whorton who led the team with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Finishing with just one loss this season was the Lady Bullpup freshman as they buried Circle by 33 points, 54-21 as four girls reached double digits in the scorebook led by Eva Malm with 15 while Jayla McLeod dropped in 13 and both Reanne Eilrich and Kaya Lowery each scored 11.

MCPHERSON LADY BULLPUPS 37, Circle Lady T-Birds 29.

MCPHERSON LADY BULLPUPS INDIVIDUAL SCORING (37 total): Grace Pyle – 30; Ella Schmid – 3; Peyton Howard – 2; Kassidy Beam – 1; Karter Alvord – 1. 3-Pointers Made (4 total): Pyle – 4.

Circle Lady T-Birds Individual Scoring (29 total): Madi Michaelis – 14; Lanna Chase – 6; Kimalee Cook – 5; Maci Claycamp – 4. 3-Pointers Made (4 total): Michaelis – 2; Cook, Chase – 1.