You just knew that McPherson High grads Taylor Robertson and Ben Pyle would give one more virtuoso performance before they moved on to college.
Robertson and Pyle clearly were the best performers on the floor Saturday night in Salina in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association All-Star games at Kansas Wesleyan’s Mabee Arena.
Earlier in the day, Robertson had been honored as Kansas’ Miss Basketball, with Pyle anointed Mr. Basketball. Robertson and teammate Mandi Cooks also received the Courage Award and MHS’ Chris Strathman was named 4A Division I Coach of the Year.
Robertson and Pyle showed why they received those awards in what was their final high school appearance.
In her 20 minutes of playing time, Robertson scored 29 points as she made 10 of 14 floor shots, 7 of 9 from 3-point. She also canned both her free throw attempts.
A stat I’m sure she enjoyed was that she had 3 blocks and also dished out a couple of assists.
More importantly, she made back-to-back 3-pointers late in the game as her team was down 80-76. Her first drew her team within a point, then with 1:21 left she stepped back for another 3-ball, then made a defensive deflection that secured the 84-80 win.
Robertson will be taking her talents to Oklahoma University. It will be interesting to see how the Sooners use her in their scheme, as I can tell you nobody on their team can shoot it like her. I always said I would pay admission to see a game of HORSE between Robertson, Laurie Koehn and Jackie Stiles, three of the greatest shooters I have ever witnessed.
Pyle also was sensational in his 24 minutes. He had only 7 points at the half and his team trailed 56-44, but then he went to work. He scored 19 points in the second half and overtime, as his team was able to grind out the win.
Pyle was 9 of 15 from the field, 6 of 9 at the line and showed his versatility with 6 rebounds and 5 assists. I really believe he can play the “2” position in college because of his ability to put the ball on the floor and the Western Illinois coaching staff certainly has to be busy devising ways to create mismatches with his 6-8 height.
I don’t know if it will ever happen again that two players from the same school receive Kansas’ highest honor in the same year. Robertson leaves as the all-time MHS girls scorer (and all-time McPherson High overall scorer), while Pyle is at the top of the chart for the boys.
I hope McPherson fans realize just how much they have been blessed to watch these two wondrous talents. I know for Bullpup coaches Chris Strathman and Kurt Kinnamon, it’s going to look strange next year not to have these players on the court.
Here’s to wishing them success at the next level. I’m sure we’ll all be checking the box scores after every game to see how they performed.