For most of the first half on Thursday at the Roundhouse, it appeared McPherson’s eighth-grade girls and Salina Lakewood might be headed to overtime for the second time this season since little separated the teams.
But in stepped Lakewood’s Aubrie Kierscht.
The sharpshooting guard, in a space of 59 seconds, knocked down 3 3-pointers in a row as an 11-11-tie turned into a 20-11 Mustang lead.
Lakewood then outscored the Bullpups 12-6 in the third quarter and it finished off a perfect 15-0 season under former Bethany coach Jim Campion with a 36-20 victory in the finals of the Pioneer League Tournament.
The Bullpups were led by Lauren Labertew, who scored 9 points. Kierscht finished with 13 for the Mustangs.
“We knew they would make 3s, but we wanted to limit how many they made,” MMS coach Jay Crawford said. “It’s a game of runs and they had their run. We didn’t recover from it.”
Crawford said Lakewood is a quality team.
“They spread you out and then they know how to attack,” he said. “Their players know their roles. Those that don’t shoot reverse the ball and they keep moving.”
Crawford really liked this team as it was tough defensively.
“This group really learned how to fight harder,” he said. “That’s what we talked about, what it’s like to be a Bullpup. They continued to try and get better and they ran sets better. I am proud of them because they never quit. That’s what a Bullpup does.”
The game also was Crawford’s last as he’s stepping down after a long tenure. MMS was 160-30 during his time with five undefeated teams. In all three years of the Pioneer League, the Bullpups played for the tournament championship.
MMS (20) — Howard 3, Schmid 3, Whorton 5, Labertew 9.
Lakewood (36) — Stewart 9, Farthing 1, Loucks 4, Kierscht 13, Polk-Darby 6, Williams 3.