By Sports Editor, Peter Holland Jr.
The McPherson High School girls basketball team was down two starters, but that didn’t seem to be an issue on Friday night as the Bullpups dominated Andover High School 62-20 in their home opener.
It was challenging enough to lose one senior in Lakyn Schieferecke, but Bullpups also lost Emma Ruddle as she reportedly suffered a compartment syndrome which will keep her out for six weeks.
Emma Malm and Kassidy Beam took the starting role for Schieferecke and Ruddle, and both made their presence known from the start of tipoff. While the Bullpups went on a 12-0 run, Malm showed her quickness on both sides of the field when she scored six early points in the first quarter and ended eight points and three steals.
“I was really impressed with Emma Malm, especially from the start of the game,” Bullpups coach Chris Strathman said. “She was very composed, didn’t put pressure on herself. I think she made some really smart plays.”
Beam was lights out in the second quarter, knocking down the first two 3s after McPherson didn’t make any in the first quarter. In her first start, Beam became the top scorer with 17 points, shooting 3 for 7 from behind the arc.
“Kassidy came out and played very sharp tonight,” Strathman said. “She’s always going to look to shoot.”
Four Bullpups finished in double figures. Outside of Beam’s 17 points, the two remaining seniors, Andrea Sweat (13 pts.) and Cassie Cooks (12pts.) added 25 points total. Grace Pyle was on the verge of her first career triple-double but was only two assists shy. The junior still finished the night with 13 points and 11 rebounds. She also added three blocks and two steals defensively. The ball movement was in sync throughout the night. McPherson led 36-10 at halftime.
Nothing but smiles for @gracepyle24 as she was 2 assists away of her first triple double performance. But a double double is just as good. Pyle finished the night with 13 points 11 rebounds, and 8 assists. #Bullpupnation 🏀 pic.twitter.com/nvh4FZwOgO
— Peter Holland Jr (@_Da_pistol) December 7, 2019
“I think we had a lot of people stepped up tonight and will continue to step up and exceed expectations because that’s what we want to do all season,” Pyle said. “We want to prove everybody wrong and everyone has a big role this year and we all realized that. I think we played well tonight.”
The Bullpups shut down the Trojans’ top player Emma Cunningham, having her settled for two points while she was in foul troubles. Andover struggled to keep up with McPherson’s tempo as they only shot 6 of 39 from the basket. No one from the Trojans scored double-digit points. After the end of the third quarter, it was running clock the rest of game. Strathman was pleased on the team performance after the game.
“We told the girls after the game we couldn’t have scripted tonight to go any better,” Strathman said. “We got (Emma) Cunningham in some early foul trouble, we wanted to do that, we just passed the ball, we shared the ball and got some easy baskets off our press.”
Now 1-0, the Bullpups have tough roads ahead, literally. Next Tuesday, the Bullpups will be at Andover Central and then will head over to Derby High School next Friday. Both scheduled to tipoff at 6 p.m.