By Sports Editor Peter Holland Jr.
The McPherson High School girls basketball team just couldn’t avoid the injury bug after the loss of Andrea Sweat, but managed to get through two tough road games and remain 3-0 on the season going into Tuesday’s game against Buhler High School.
With the loss of Sweat, Lakyn Schieferecke and Emma Ruddle, Head Coach Chris Strathman has been pleased in the way the Lady Pups adjust with the loss of the three seniors.
“We have learned that we have some kids that are even more mentally tough than I thought,” Strathman said. “We have dealt with a lot already in the first few games and I have been so impressed with the resiliency of our players and staff.”
Some of the Lady Pups who stepped up in their win over Derby were Lauren Labertew, Peyton Howard and Ella Schmid. Each sophomore saw primary roles and became a difference-maker once their name was called.
“We had to have some girls step up for us and play big/important minutes, especially at Derby,” Strathman said. “I thought all three of our sophomores had good moments. Labertew will always compete and can help us with ballhandling. I thought Peyton Howard played great as she was active on defense and on the boards in her time. Ella Schmid obviously hit some huge shots for us with her three 3-pointers.”
The Crusaders are off to 1-1 start and are coming off a 51-39 loss to Salina South High School. The Lady Crusaders were led by the Alyvia Owens, who finished last week with 19 points and is something Strathman has his eyes on.
“We know that we will have to slow down the Owens girl more than anything, as she scored over half of their points vs. Salina South.,” Strathman said. “She is their best player, but they are finally an experienced team as they have been playing these girls a lot since their freshmen and sophomore seasons.”
Strathman expects to play with the same intensity they have last week. He also hopes to improve in their shooting game after recording 13 of 41 from the field.
“As long as our girls compete like they did on Friday at Derby, I think we will be ok,” Strathman said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well on Friday from the perimeter, but we still found a way. We defended well and outrebounded the much bigger team by a pretty good margin, so if we can match that focus and intensity then I like our chances.”