KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One of the oldest cliches was certainly appropriate in this case.
The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Lee’s Summit North’s girls were a head taller than McPherson High Friday afternoon in the Hy-Vee Shootout, but the Bullpups were able to chop their way through the trees for a resounding 60-33 rout, earning their first victory in three tries in this prestigious event.
The Bullpups scored the game’s first 12 points and the lead never dropped below double digits as they take a 4-1 record into Christmas.
“We did do real well defensively in the first half,” said MHS coach Chris Strathman, whose team held the Broncos to two points in the first quarter and nine for the half as MHS took a 25-9 advantage into the break. “We didn’t make very many baskets in the first half. There’s been a lid on the basket for 2 1/2 of the three games that we’ve been up here. We finally broke it off in the second half. We shot the ball real well.”
The Bullpups were sensational after the break, making 14 of 26 shots, 6 of 10 from 3-point. They also valued the basketball, committing just 10 turnovers on the night, as the Broncos, while tall, were slow afoot and didn’t have the skills of the Bullpups.
“We really focused on wanting to pressure the ball and making them uncomfortable,” Strathman said.
As has been the case often this year, it was a collective offensive effort. Freshman Taylor Robertson wowed the crowd with her unflappable poise, scoring a team-high 17 points and sinking three more 3-pointers. Guard Emma Yowell, who came off the bench because the Bullpups needed more height at the outset, chipped in with 11 points and also made three 3-pointers, part of an 8-of-18 Bullpup effort from beyond the arc.
Coming up especially strong was Bri Cooks, who got the start and responded with eight points and six rebounds, with much of her damage coming early.
“She did real well today,” Strathman said. “Those were productive minutes for her.”
She helped the Bullpups to a surprising 34-31 rebounding advantage as MHS wasn’t intimidated by a Bronco team that started three girls over 6-feet. Ally Ulsaker was tops with seven snags off the glass.
No Bronco scored in double figures. Lee’s Summit North, which was the state runner-up last year in Missouri’s biggest class but wiped out by graduation, was just 4 of 24 in the first half, but did make half of its 22 shots in the second half to finish at 15 of 46. But it was an stomach-turning 2 of 13 at the foul line.
MHS (60) — Wedel 3-4, 0-0, 8; Hoffman 0-5, 0-0, 0; Schieferecke 2-6, 0-0, 4; Robertson 7-14, 0-0, 17; B. Cooks 2-5, 4-7, 8; Schmidt 2-7, 0-2, 4; Yowell 4-9, 0-0, 11; Collins 1-1, 0-0, 2; Ulsaker 1-3, 0-1, 2; M. Cooks 2-4, 0-0, 4. Totals — 24-58, 4-10, 60. 3-pointers — Yowell 3, Robertson 3, Wedel 2.
Lee’s Summit North (33) — Creason 2-3, 0-1, 5; Aiyana Johnson 3-7, 0-0, 6; Aaliyah Johnson 4-15, 1-8, 9; Jackson 2-7, 0-2, 4; Griffin 1-4, 0-0, 2; Dickerson 1-3, 0-0, 2; Stewart 1-2, 0-0, 2; Jennings 1-5, 1-2, 3. Totals — 15-46, 2-13, 33. 3-pointers — Creason 1.