• SUPPORT THE GIRLS TONIGHT — I know it’s a busy week for McPherson High basketball fans with the McPherson Invitational starting on Thursday.
But I implore MHS fans to be at the Roundhouse tonight for what has to be considered the crowned jewel game of the night in Kansas.
Newton’s girls, Class 5A’s No. 1-ranked team and undefeated in nine games, invades the Roundhouse as the schools revive what used to be one of the most intense series in the state.
The Railers are chockfull of talented athletes, some of whom helped Newton to the state track and field title this past spring.
The Bullpups have been sensational since losing to Miege in Game 3. They have ripped off seven wins in a row, mostly because they have buried teams in the first half under an avalanche of pressure defense and white-hot 3-point shooting.
MHS hasn’t been pushed much in Division III games, but this game should reveal just where the Bullpups stand with the state’s elite and how far they have come since losing to Miege.
Given Newton’s considerable size advantage, it’s imperative for the Bullpups to stay hot from the 3-point line and give Mandi Cooks some help on the boards. Cooks will be looking up at 6-3 Abby Schmidt tonight, while there are other Railers in the 5-11 and 5-10 range.
Given how McPherson fans support their teams, I would think the Roundhouse should be rocking tonight. The girls deserve the same support the boys receive.
• MAGNIFICENT MONDAY FOR BULLDOGS — Monday was a red-letter day for McPherson College’s basketball teams.
Anytime they sweep a KCAC opponent is cause for celebration, but Monday’s sweep came against county rival Bethany.
For the Mac women, the 60-44 success gave them a season sweep of the Swedes. When the Bulldogs are triumphant, it’s basically because they are in lockdown mode on the defensive end. But in Monday’s win, they made 7 3-pointers in the first half, far more than they normally make as the 3-ball is the team’s weak link. Victoria Gonzalez, a 5-11 freshman post, came off the bench to score 15 points and make 3 of the 3-pointers.
Cami Richardson continues to be a frontrunner for KCAC Freshman of the Year. She is such a versatile player as her 10 points, 9 steals and 6 assists would attest.
Mac is back to .500 in the KCAC at 6-6 and there’s a pack of teams in that range. The Bulldogs need to beat the teams below them in the standings and maybe pick off one of the top teams, like they did during the first half when they stunned third-place Ottawa at home.
For the Mac men, the exciting 87-85 last-second win on an Aaron Bachura basket lifted a heavy burden and could perhaps spark the team to a big turnaround.
Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber has maintained all year the talent is there, but a bad stretch or two every game has cost it. But Monday it played solid for about 37 minutes against a Bethany team whose talent level rivals that of Tabor and York, but for whatever reason the Swedes are just 6-6 in the KCAC.
The Bulldogs can chalk up the win to phenomenal 3-point shooting, as they drained 13 of 27. Let’s hope they can now get on a roll and start to pick some teams off.