McPherson High junior Taylor Robertson was named the Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year on Monday.
And her staggering numbers speak for themselves, though that’s only a part of the player and person she is.
How could anybody but Robertson be named the top player? After looking at the Bullpups’ final season statistics, the junior guard had perhaps the most efficient season in high school basketball history.
Just try and fathom these numbers and remember, she was the subject of numerous junk defenses:
• She was 200 of 323 overall from the field for 62 percent (which by the way is a McPherson High girls record for most field goals in a season). Remember, she takes about 45 percent of her shots from beyond the arc, where 35 percent is acceptable and 40 percent is considered exceptional.
• Which leads me to this: Robertson was 85 of 148 from 3-point for 57 percent as she has smashed every school record associated with 3-point shooting.
• While on the subject of 3-pointers, only four times in the 24 games she played did she make LESS than 50 percent on her 3-point attempts.
Robertson was a free throw-shooting prodigy from the moment she laced up her sneakers (she’s a past national free throw champion) and this year she missed 9 — that’s right, just 9 — all year. She made 97 of 106 and you could almost hear the Roundhouse crowd gasp everytime she missed one. Her 92 percent was Steve Henson-like during his Kansas State days.
Oh by the way, she averaged 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals.
MHS coach Chris Strathman pointed out a remarkable moment this year. Robertson learned over the holiday break she was playing with a broken pinky finger and then missed the Buhler game, the first one after Christmas. Determined to get back into the lineup, she had her fingers taped up and went out and scored 30 points against Circle, which wound up taking fourth in the Class 4A Division I State Tournament.
Robertson’s 24.2 average and 582 points this season were easily school records and she was at her best at state, averaging 27 points. She had a 30-point game against Miege in the state finals and combined with teammate Mandi Cooks to score 50 against one of the best defenses in the state.
Robertson now sits at 1,338 points and is on pace to pass Ashley Sweat’s 1,593 sometime before midseason next year. She also has the two top single-game scoring records of 43 points against Great Bend and 41 against Rose Hill, games she could have scored more if not for the lopsidedness of the games.
I’ve covered high school basketball for more than 40 years and seen a lot of great shooters. I think we could have sold out the Roundhouse for a game of HORSE matching Robertson, Laurie Koehn of Moundridge and Jackie Stiles of Claflin, perhaps the three purest shooters in Kansas girls history. I’ve seen all three and I can tell you they could put on a show.
The All-State teams will come out soon and Robertson certainly will receive high honors. The Gatorade honor entailed more than just on-court success, it took into account academics (she has a 3.83 GPA) and community service (she has helped with Special Olympics, the McPherson Thanksgiving dinner and youth basketball).
Robertson could very well be the Gatorade Player of the Year next year as well, equaling the feat of MHS grad Katelyn Loecker, who won it in 2012 and 2013. In fact, I’ll be surprised if she’s not if she has another year like this one.
And she’ll be the first to say she’d trade the award for a championship banner in the Roundhouse.
Now that’s a class act.