ANDALE — If time of possessing the lead was the criteria for a winner, McPherson High’s girls would have had a walk in the park against undefeated Andale Tuesday night.
For the 32 minutes of regulation, the Bullpups never trailed. They took a 2-0 lead just moments into the game and held it until the final seconds of regulation.
Andale’s Rachel Friedrichs scored to tie the game at 39-all, then Andale went on to prevail in overtime, 45-43.
It was a crushing loss for the Bullpups, who led by nine points in the fourth quarter but couldn’t seal the deal.
“We just didn’t do a very good job of holding on to the lead,” said MHS coach Chris Strathman, whose team will take a 7-3 record into the Mid America Classic next week and could quite possibly play this same Andale team again in the semifinals as the Indians clinched the top seed. “We got a little passive even against their pressure. We got going backwards a few times and that’s just passive. We had to burn a couple of timeouts due to that. And that ended up costing us a little bit.”
For three quarters the Bullpups were terrific. They led by as many as 10 points, 34-24, and took a 36-27 lead into the final period.
But they did not make a field goal over the final 8 minutes and made only 3 of 7 free throws, including three misses on the front end of a 1-and-1. Andale pounded the ball inside to chip away and a big 3-pointer by Jaiden Easter with 32 seconds left cut it from 38-34 to 38-37.
MHS freshman Taylor Robertson was fouled with 14 seconds to go, but could make only 1 of 2 for a 39-37 lead. Andale immediately pounded the ball inside to Friedrichs, who scored easily to to send the game into overtime.
Andale took the lead for good on a pair of Brittany Meyer free throws and MHS could never get closer than one. Meyer missed a pair of free throws with 4 seconds to go, but the Bullpups couldn’t get a good look.
“A lot of credit goes to Andale,” Strathman said. “We knew they were a very good team and coming down here was going to be a tough chore, to win on their home floor... we just didn’t get it done in the second half.”
Robertson led the Bullpups with 13 points. A killer for MHS was making just 14 of 24 from the line and Andale also time and again was able to get inside the Bullpups for offensive rebounds as the Indians’ size advantage posed numerous problems.
Meyer and Friedrichs led Andale with 11 apiece. Madison Hoffman and Kamryn Collins combined to hold Meyer to 3 of 12 from the field and the Bullpups’ defense was great all night, allowing the Indians to make just 14 of 51.
The Bullpups now await word on Wednesday who they will play in the first round.
The MHS JVs were a 48-35 winner behind Collins’ 13 points, 11 by Emma Yowell and 10 by Paige Schmidt. The C-team was defeated 44-18, as Riley Schrader’s seven points led the way.
MHS (43) — Wedel 0-1, 0-0, 0; Yowell 2-5, 0-0, 5; Collins 2-2, 0-2, 4; Hoffman 0-2, 6-10, 6; Schieferecke 2-7, 2-2, 6; Ulsaker 0-2, 1-2, 1; Robertson 3-6, 5-6, 13; M. Cooks 2-3, 0-1, 4; B. Cooks 2-3, 0-0, 4. Totals — 13-31, 14-24, 43. 3-pointers — Robertson 2, Yowell 1.
Andale (45) — Reichenberger 0-1, 0-0, 0; Meyer 3-12, 2-2, 11; Maxwell 1-4, 1-2, 3; Ebert 2-7, 1-1, 5; Friedrichs 4-8, 3-4, 11; Rowland 3-12, 2-6, 8; Easter 1-7, 4-6, 7. Totals — 14-51, 13-21, 45. 3-pointers — Meyer 3, Easter 1.
MHS JV (48) — Schmidt 10, Yowell 11, Collins 13, Ulsaker 3, Williams 3, Schrader 3, M. Cooks 5.
MHS C (18) — Crist 6, Gabel 5, Schrader 7.