McPherson High’s football team didn’t make its annual trip to Pittsburg State for summer team camp.
So the McPherson High girls basketball team filled the Pittsburg trip void.
The Bullpups spent last week in the Southeast Kansas college town for a time of bonding and working on getting better.
“Our team had a good trip to Pittsburg State. Very good to get away and spend some time together,” said MHS coach Chris Strathman, who guided the Bullpups to a Class 4A Division I state runner-up finish last season and a 21-4 record. “The JV really did well and won the top JV division going away. They won all of their games by double digits.”
MHS’ JV and C-teams did not lose a game this past season, so their results should not have been surprising.
As for the varsity, Strathman said the Bullpups had to endure a spate of injuries and wound up finishing 4-4 in the eight games they played. MHS played without standout All-State center Mandi Cooks, who is still not able to go because of a knee injury that cost her the track and field season. Riley Hett injured her back on the second day and was limited to playing just half the games, while Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year Taylor Roberson rolled an ankle halfway through the camp and was not at full speed the rest of the way. When Cooks and Robertson weren’t on the floor, that allowed the other Bullpups to step up in primary roles.
The Bullpups’ wins came against Adair (Okla.), St. Joe Central (Missouri), Maize and Lee’s Summit (Mo.).
Losses were to Carl Junction (Mo.), Pryor (Okla.), Derby (which will be on MHS’ schedule this year) and Central Plains.
The Bullpups return nearly their entire team, as Emma Yowell and Jordan Bruner were the only seniors. It should still be a youthful Bullpup team this winter as Cooks and Robertson were the only juniors last year, as they were augmented by a deep sophomore class.
Moving up is an eighth-grade team that was undefeated last year and especially dynamic on the defensive end.
The Bullpups still have work to do this summer as they are competing in the McPherson College Summer League, and then have two tournaments left — June 30-July 2 (Derby-Wichita) and July 8-9 (McPherson tournament).
Strathman is excited that he has several players working hard to better their games.
“Several of our girls will continue to be very busy in the month of July as they play with their travel teams,” Strathman said. “We have five girls playing with the Kansas United out of Wichita, though not all on the same team. We also have one player with the Ohlde Elite, based out of Clay Center. They will be playing in tournaments as far away as Frisco, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia.”
Strathman added that Robertson, coming off an All-State All-Class season, has been selected to participate in the Adidas All-America Camp, which will be in Portland, Ore. Robertson is high on many recruiting lists.