It must be a Ulysses thing.
A day after McPherson High boys coach Kurt Kinnamon said that Ulysses will probably shoot more 3-pointers than any team they’ll face this year, Bullpup girls coach Chris Strathman echoed those same sentiments when talking about the Tigers, their first-round opponent at 6 p.m. Friday in the Class 4A Division I Sub-State Tournament at Hays.
“They are a team that doesn't have a lot of size, so we should have an advantage inside,” Strathman said. “They look to shoot a lot of 3s, so we can't let them get going from the perimeter.”
MHS is the No. 1 seed at 16-4, while the Tigers are 5-14, as they had one game cancelled. It is expected to be little more than formality, but in this "second season" Strathman says you can’t overlook anybody.
“We will need to be focused on Friday and not looking ahead at all,” he said.
Ulysses does come in on a high, routing Scott City 60-27 in its final game. It has defeated SC twice this year and Holcomb twice. The only other win was against small-school Southwestern Heights.
An MHS victory, of course, would more than likely set up a third and final game with Buhler for the right to advance to Salina, just like last year.
“Barring an upset in either game on Friday, we know there is a good chance we will be facing off with Buhler for the third time,” Strathman said. “The two teams are evenly matched, as shown by our two matchups so far. We will both make some adjustments throughout the week in preparation for a potential rematch. I would anticipate it being an outstanding game once again.”
Buhler won the first meeting 47-42 before the Bullpups returned the favor last week, 51-49.
The Bullpups certainly enter the weekend on a roll. They have won all seven of their games since losing in the finals of the Mid America Classic to Class 6A powerhouse Olathe South.
“We are just excited to be heading into postseason play,” Strathman said. “This is the time of year all coaches and competitors look forward to playing. I think we will have a great week of practice and the girls will be ready to go.”
Don’t expect any changes for the Bullpups. They are led in scoring by a pair of freshmen, Taylor Robertson and Mandi Cooks, with Robertson averaging 15.7 and Cooks is at 8.7 despite not starting.
Robertson has been dynamic, including a school-record 41-point game against Rose Hill. She shoots 52 percent from the field, an even 50 percent from 3-point and 89 percent from the line. Cooks shoots 68 percent from the field.
Robertson is joined in the starting lineup by seniors Madison Hoffman, Cassidy Wedel and Bri Cooks, and junior Ashtyn Schieferecke, who is the team’s third-leading scorer and leading rebounder (5.0 a game).
The MHS bench, led by Mandi Cooks, has been terrific. Emma Yowell, Kamryn Collins, Ally Ulsaker, Paige Schmidt and Jordan Bruner have played meaningful minutes. Most importantly all are underclassmen.
In the other semifinal game Friday, Buhler (16-4) isn't expected to have much trouble with Hays (6-14). The Crusaders, however, do enter the game off a difficult two-point loss to McPherson, but Hays has struggled all year, including a last-place finish in the Mid America Classic in January.