Taylor Robertson is now in a class by herself.
The McPherson High All-Stater and reigning Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year broke Ashley Sweat’s MHS career scoring record with a first-quarter layup and her 17 points propelled the Bullpups to a 59-40 rout of Shawnee Mission South in the final game of the Mid America Classic’s first day on Thursday.
Robertson now has 1,601 career points to surpass Sweat’s record of 1,593, which stood for 12 years.
As soon as Robertson broke the record, MHS coach Chris Strathman immediately called a timeout so that the unassuming Bullpup standout could enjoy the moment.
"Taylor didn't know that was coming," Strathman said. "I was kind of debating earlier today whether I was going to do that or not… Mr. Reith (assistant coach Mike) said no, this is a cool moment. It may not happen again for a long, long time because Taylor's got a lot of games left this year hopefully and it could definitely be added to. So I was glad we did what we did. It was deserved honor for her to be singled out like that. Taylor doesn't necessarily like that, but she deserved it."
On this feel-good night, the Bullpups also welcomed back All-Stater Mandi Cooks, who missed the first half of the season recovering from a torn Achilles. She saw spot duty as she will be working her way back into the flow. While she didn't score, her return was an emotional shot in the arm.
"Tonight her presence was felt on the defensive end more than it was on the offensive end," Strathman said. "It will come. She was just amped up… it's so good to see her back on the floor."
MHS started fast with a 21-6 first-quarter lead and kept the hammer down by pushing it out to 37-24 with Robertson, appropriately, draining a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give her 14 points for the half while Emma Ruddle added 9 points in just over 5 minutes off the bench.
"I really did think we were going to come out pretty strong tonight and we did for the most part," Strathman said. "Shawnee Mission South is a team that can really ugly things up pretty quick on you as far as causing fouls and all kinds of stuff. We were able to get a lot of stuff out of our press. We talked before the game that we thought we would be able to, which allowed us to get off to a good 21-6 start in the first quarter."
Strathman used a myriad of combinations in the second half as he kept a revolving door of players going into the game.
Ruddle had her best night of the season with 12 points, making 5 of 7 shots. Robertson and Riley Hett both had 5 assists and 4 steals.
"I thought that we really shared the basketball pretty well, with good extra passes," Strathman said.
Robyn MacDonald was solid for the Raiders with 12 points.
The Bullpups will now play old nemesis Olathe South in Friday’s late game while Shawnee Mission South will play Ulysses in the second game at 4:30.
The Bullpups are 0-5 lifetime against South, which is 16-0 in its tournament history.
"We've played them a lot, obviously, we've matched up pretty much every year they've been here," Strathman said. "Whether it's been in the finals or semifinals or whatever. Hopefully we can get them tomorrow — finally."
MHS (59) — Hageman 2-5, 0-0, 5; Schieferecke 1-4, 0-0, 3; Hett 1-6, 1-4, 4; Robertson 6 0-0, 17; C. Cooks 4-6, 1-2, 9; Yowell 2-2, 1-1, 6; Burghart 0-0, 2-2, 2; Ruddle 5-7, 0-0, 12; Sweat 0-3, 1-2, 1; M. Cooks 0-1, 0-0, 0. Totals — 21-47, 6-11, 59. 3-pointers — Robertson 5, Ruddle 2, Hageman 1, Schieferecke 1, Hett 1, Yowell 1.
Shawnee Mission South (40) — Bunker 2-8, 0-0, 6; Crawford 4-5, 0-0, 8; Shelton 5-10, 1-1, 11; MacDonald 2-8, 2-3, 6; Gerber 0-1, 0-0, 0; Banks 0-1, 0-0, 0; Bermond 0-2, 0-0, 0; Cooper 1-2, 2-2, 4; Payne 1-1, 0-2, 2; Whitcomb 1-4, 0-0, 3. Totals — 16-42, 5-8, 40. 3-pointers — Bunker 2, Whitcomb 1.