By Sports Editor Peter Holland Jr.
ANDOVER— Not the best shooting night for the McPherson High School girls basketball team compared to last week, but it was enough to survive an overtime terror as the Bullpups beat Andover Central High School 54-50 on the road.
The Bullpups weren’t in good ball rhythm in the first half but still weren’t far behind. Brittany Harshaw of Andover Central went on a rampage in the first half as she dropped 18 points. McPherson was only down 27-22, but the shooting was not up to par.
“Andover Central is a good team and a young team, but they’re ranked No. 7 for a good reason,” Strathman said. “They beat a nice Maize South team on Friday. We just had to gut it out and find away.”
The game remains tight with Andover Central led as high six points. The Bullpups were able to cool down Harshaw, as she was a nonfactor in the second half. Grace Pyle and Andrea Sweat went a full 36 minutes without any substitution, locking down on the sophomore while the Jags only scored seven points in the third.
“We just did a great job of having Grace and Andrea, they just knew to close out and give her long (shots) because she can shoot it and take it to the hole. She’s a good player and she’s only a sophomore,” Kassidy Beam said.
After eight scoreless minutes, the game started to take it up a notch. Beam finally found her stroke after missing 12 of her shots early in the game, knocking down a pair of threes to give the Bullpups enough points for their first two-possession lead. Pyle, who only had six points in the first half, focused more on attacking the basket more.
Andover Central looked fatigued but still alive. Bailey Wilborn got the Jags back in the game with a three-pointer with a minute left in the fourth. Up 44-43 after Pyle made her free throws, the Jags managed to make one of their two free throws to force overtime.
The Bullpups had enough in the tank to finish off the final four-minute stretch. Wilborn, who had was the Jag’s sharpshooter, made the final shot but was deflected by Emma Malm to end the game.
“I thought we overcame some adversity,” Beam said after the game. “We didn’t get the calls because it was an away game. We locked down on defense and took away some of their best shooters. Once we got a good stop, we converted that and showed it on offense.”
Three Bullpups finished in double-figures. Beam was the top scorer for the second time with 17 points. Pyle was not far behind with 16 and Cassie Cooks with 11.
For Second week in a row @KassidyBeam was the top scorer. Not her best shooting performance, but still pull through late in fourth quarter and in overtime. Beam finished with 17 points
— Peter Holland Jr (@_Da_pistol) December 11, 2019
“I came out the first half that I didn’t get the shot that I liked and I didn’t shoot very well,” Beam said about her performance. “Coming out in the second half, I just changed my mental thoughts and locked out. I knew I had to hit some good shots for my team and they found me the ball.”