WINFIELD — By going to her left, it turned out right for Janae Barnes and the McPherson High girls Friday night.
Barnes went to her off hand to score on a short shot with just over a second left to play as the Bullpups escaped Winfield with a pulsating 37-35 victory.
The Bullpups may be 0-4 in nonleague play, but they are now 3-0 in AVCTL Division III against the top three teams, while next week they play the two teams considered to be at the bottom.
It was a welcomed outcome for the Bullpups, who lost by two points just 24 hours earlier and also lost in overtime to St. Teresa’s at Kansas City as close games haven’t exactly gone their way.
“I was really proud of the girls, you know (the) third game in four nights and making the long trip down to Winfield following a tough defeat last night on our home floor,” MHS coach Chris Strathman said. “I’m really proud of the character and leadership that they showed. The girls competed. Winfield is so much improved over what they’ve been the past several years. Hats off to them. They’ve got a lot of girls who can really shoot the basketball and they play very well together.”
It was a barnburner throughout. MHS led 13-6 early, only to see Winfield score 10 straight points before the Bullpups finally scraped ahead 23-20 by half.
It was still a two-point game going into the fourth quarter and the Vikings actually took a 35-34 lead with 2:30 to go before Barnes tied the game with a free throw at the 1:50 mark.
Winfield missed a free throw with 26 seconds left, but got the offensive rebound. Barnes, though, forced a Viking turnover and Strathman called time with 11.3 seconds left.
Strathman rewarded Barnes for her play by devising a play that got her in the lane and she hit the floater for the dramatic win.
‘The set we run is one of our most basic plays we run,” Strathman said. “We were confident they would run it exactly right. We had Abby (Pedersen) and Janae on the same side of the floor, so we knew they could not double off of Abby to go down on Janae in the post. They weren’t going to do that. So Janae’s 1-on-1 and she made a great move and finished with her left hand. It was just an awesome finish for Janae.”
Barnes led the Bullpups with 12 points and Pedersen was next with eight. Courtney Griffiths led the Vikings with 12.
The Bullpups also received some nice defensive play in the second half from Cassidy Wedel, who came up with some clutch rebounds and played solid defense.
MHS is home Tuesday to play Rose Hill, then completes the first go-around of D-III play next Friday at El Dorado.
MHS (37) — Barnes 12, Pedersen 8, Willems 7, Schmidt 4, Bate 4, Wedel 2.
Winfield (35) — Griffiths 12, Thiel 6, Pingry 5, Bertholf 4, Wingett 3, Bruce 2, Pollock 2, McNutt 1.