Sports Editor Peter Holland Jr.
McPherson High School produced a decade full of success. That includes 10 state titles and 26 individual state titles. For me living in McPherson for almost two years now, I only witnessed a taste of that success, and the one that will stay near to my sports writing heart is the 2018 McPherson High School girls basketball team.
It was in mid-January of 2018 that I started working for the McPherson Sentinel. I had no knowledge of McPherson or what to expect. My first coverage was the Mid-America Classic. One thing that caught my attention when the Lady Pups were on the court, was Taylor Robertson. I was impressed by how much of an amazing shooter she was and made me want to learn more about her and the rest of the Bullpups. Robertson and Mandi Cooks were already college commits. Robertson committed to the University of Oklahoma. Cooks, who was recovering from a torn achilles injury, committed to the University of Texas of San Antonio. After the Lady Pups won their invitational and steamrolled their way throughout the regular season, I knew and the rest of the media members knew that this team was going to be something special.
The Class 4A State Championship was in Tony’s Pizza Event Center and the Bullpups took on Bishop Miege High School. The year before that, Bishop Miege beat McPherson on that same stage. As I learned more about different high schools in the state, from what I discovered, the Stags were nothing to mess with. They had the size and the skills to put away McPherson, Still a bit naive of what to expect, the ignorance of me would’ve thought that the Bullpups were going to beat Miege by double figures like that they have been all season long. At first, Bishop Miege had the edge as they led 35-26 at halftime. Robertson had an off shooting day as she went 0 for 7 from behind the arc, which is unusual for the current Sooner. Bishop Miege had Faith Hawthorne, who was a freshman standout at the time. Standing at 6-foot-1, no question she was a threat for the Bullpups.
One thing that was working for the Bullpups was their free throws. Robertson shot 98 percent at the line, which played a role in McPherson’s victory. The defense was also dominant as Bishop made only one field goal in the final two quarters. when I talked to Head Coach Chris Strathman after the game, he mentioned how relied on his trap defense while managing the clock.
After the Bullpups captured their first lead in overtime, there was no looking back. The Bullpups beat Bishop Miege 62-58. Tears of joy were falling by everyone in the arena from the players, coaches and the local supporters. I will never forget that atmosphere. It was McPherson’s ninth state title in program history.
Looking back from what is now two seasons ago, it makes want to continue to tell stories in McPherson and something tells me that this current Bullpup team could bring that same magic back and why wouldn’t they? The seniors on the roster (Cassie Cooks, Lakyn Schieferecke, Andrea Sweat and Emma Ruddle) were only sophomores at the time, and the Juniors (Grace Pyle, Emma Malm and Kassidy Beam) were freshmen. The Bullpups are sitting at 5-0 as we begin the second half of the season this Friday when they host Dodge City this Friday.
As a sports editor for McPherson Buzz, I don’t have an ideal news year’s resolution but all I can say is I want to continue to tell more stories and collect more memories in McPherson for decades more.
Happy New Year to all from the “Pistol.”