SALINA — It was an offensive shootout for both McPherson High School girls basketball team and Labette County High School in the Class 4A Division I Semifinals. However, the Lady Pups showed how much depth they had and dominated in the second half in their 67-46 victory over the Lady Grizzlies.
The Lady Pups offense started out hot early in the first quarter. Taylor Robertson didn't waste any time finding her stroke as she nailed two straight 3-pointers to give McPherson a comfortable lead.
Robertson carried the Lady Pups in the first quarter with 13 early points. Yet, things didn't go her way offensively for the senior as she only scored two points in the second quarter.
One of the Lady Pups biggest struggles was getting into foul trouble. In the first half, McPherson committed 12 personal fouls, putting them over the limit.
The Lady Grizzlies hung around with McPherson, keeping it a tight ballgame. Tristan Gegg for the Grizzlies gave the Lady Pups a hard time throughout the night. Whether it's 30-foot range shooting, attacking the basket or making her free throws, it wasn't easy to contain the Pittsburgh State commit.
"We focused all the attention on her and spread a little defense adjustment on her. I thought our kids did a good job with that. She's going to to get at least 25 shots up, get on the foul line and drain them. She's not an easy girl to guard," head coach Chris Strathman said.
After making adjustments, Gegg was no longer a factor in the second half, only scoring five points in the third, and disappeared in the fourth with the defensive efforts from Riley Hett and Emma Ruddle.
"She had an amazing game, she's an amazing player, but Riley (Hett) and Emma (Ruddle) stepped it up on defense. She's going to get her shots somehow, but we just need to try to limit her. It was a good defense by them," Robertson said.
The Lady pups started to get back in a groove when they finally led in double-figures. In the final two quarters, the Lady Pups outscored Labette County 36-18. The Lady Pups dominated in the third quarter shooting six consecutive 3-pointers to give the Lady Pups their first double-digit lead of the night. The Lady Pups started the third quarter shooting a corner 3-pointer by Hannah Hageman.
Lakyn Schieferecke would follow up with another 3-pointer to give the Lady Pups a 39-30 lead. Then, Robertson made the third 3-point basket to give the Lady Pups their first double-digit lead. Robertson put her shooting aside to be more aggressive from inside to collect defensive rebounds.
It was lights out in the fourth quarter. After a Mandi Cooks layup, Robertson nailed her fifth 3-point shot to give the Lady Pups a 59-41 lead. Gegg tried to keep the Grizzlies in the game as she finished the night 31 points, but McPherson remained dominate in the post and from the outside.
"Our girls just executed and made alot of plays. It was a tremendous second half. We really widen it out and play very well," Strathman said.
The Lady Pups will be moving forward to finals to face their post season rivals Bishop Miege High School Saturday at 4 p.m. in Salina
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