It’s all about taking care of business.
The numbers would suggest if the McPherson High girls play their normal game this week, they should be able to punch their ticket to Salina.
MHS is the prohibitive favorite in the Class 4A Division I sub-state at Ulysses that begins on Thursday. The 18-2 Bullpups play the 3-17 host Tigers and, if successful, they would play the winner of 8-12 Hays and 7-13 Buhler at 6 p.m. Saturday for the right to advance to the Bicentennial Center.
MHS was knocked off by Buhler in last year’s sub-state finals at Hays and missed state for only the second time in 20 years.
But Bullpup coach Chris Strathman is taking nothing for granted, starting with Ulysses.
“We have been able to see a couple films on Ulysses,” Strathman said. “Their girls really work hard, they are just young and have struggled a bit this year. Hopefully we can speed them up a little bit and get out in transition before their zone defenses can get set.”
Hays played in the Mid America Classic and took sixth place, while the Bullpups own two lopsided wins over Buhler, the most recent coming on Friday on the Crusaders’ home court.
“Hays has steadily gotten better the last three consecutive years,” Strathman said. “We were able to see them in the Mid America Classic a few weeks ago, so that helped in regards to scouting. We have a few films on them and have been working to prepare for them as well, just in case we see them on Saturday. Buhler, of course, not much to say there since we just played them. However, I would expect some different types of defenses to be thrown at us this time if we play. They were solely in their 1-3 and chaser defense until the margin got too big last week. We will prepare for that, but also anticipating them trying some different things as well.”
With the Bullpups traveling halfway across the state, that calls for some adjustments.
“We are staying in Ulysses if we win on Thursday,” Strathman said. “Friday will be spent in Garden City, though, practicing at the juco and then having lunch and spending the afternoon there. We’ll head back to Ulysses for the boys game on Friday night. I think our girls will enjoy being together and we will make things work. They will be ready for Saturday. This option beats making that trip twice, that's for sure.”