Only 32 minutes separate the McPherson girls’ basketball team from the 2012 4A state championship. The Bullpups are in the title game after a big 49-40 win Friday night over Bonner Springs.
McPherson had to adjust to the pace of Bonner Springs throughout the game, the Bullpups found themselves in the semi-final game after winning a high scoring affair over Girard Wednesday afternoon. The game flow against Bonner Springs was a bit more methodical and McPherson showed they could get an early lead and hold on it throughout the contest.
“We have done a good job of holding leads this year”, said McPherson head coach Chris Strathman after the victory.
Strathman said he was very pleased the way his squad defended in a timely manner against Bonner Springs and went for loose balls on the hardwood.
Tanner Hein had a game high 18 points for McPherson, her teammate Hailey Ruder knocked down some key shots en route to 9 points. Ashton Bruner had a solid outing for the Bullpups with 8 points on the afternoon.
If the Bullpups want to claim 4A bragging rights they will have to go through the powerhouse girls’ squad from Holton. Aside from a perfect record, Holton has dismantled the two teams they have played so far in the state finals. On Wednesday Chanute was blown-out by Holton, then on Friday evening Holton rolled Ottawa by a final of 53-32. The Wildcats are also the defending 4A state champions, McPherson and Holton will square off Saturday at 4 p.m. from Salina’s Bicentennial Center.
The boys’ side of the bracket saw a bit of an upset on Friday as top-seeded Pratt fell in overtime to Basehor- Linwood. The previously unbeaten squad from Pratt had a tough time hitting shots at the right time, the night before Pratt put up 85 points in a win over Coffeyville. In addition, star player Micah Swank set the 4A finals record by putting up 41 points in that victory. Friday night would be a different story as Basehor-Linwood played stealthy defense in the second half; Pratt could only manage 16 second half points. Riding a wave of momentum Basehor-Linwood finished the job in overtime by a final of 55-49.
“They just hit their shots at the right time and we didn’t”, said Pratt head coach David Swank after the loss.
The head coach added that he and his team are still looking forward to playing on Saturday in the 4A third place game.
The boys’ 4A title game will include Basehor-Linwood and the Cyclones from Ottawa. So far in the 4A state finals Ottawa has looked like a wrecking crew with monstrous wins over McPherson and Fort Scott. As expected, division one college prospect Semilore Ojeleye has shown himself to be on a different level, Ojeleye had 35 points and 14 rebounds Friday night in the win over Fort Scott.
Catch It Kansas will have continuing coverage Saturday in Salina from the Bicentennial Center of all the 4A championship action.