Offense disappears for McPherson in semifinals
MCPHERSON When Hannah Willems hit a wide-open three-pointer from the top of the key late in the second quarter, it capped a four-minute span in which McPherson rattled off 12 points.
The offense was clicking. In that span, teammate Katelyn Loecker had scored six points, including a three-pointer, and the Bullpups had made 4 of 6 shots.
Then that offense disappeared.
And Olathe South won 43-35 in Friday’s semifinals of the McPherson tournament to advance to Saturday’s title game against Manhattan.
“Olathe South cranked up the defense,” McPherson coach Chris Strathman said. “They’re long enough, quick enough at all the spots. They make it difficult for anybody with their defense. They’re so sound, as far as their rotations. You just don’t get anything easy on them.”
McPherson will play Andale in the third-place game at 5:30 p.m.
Olathe South (11-0) held McPherson (9-3) without a field goal for more than 11 minutes — from Willems’ three at the 2:35 mark of the second period until Hailey Ruder’s driving layup at the 7:20 mark of the fourth got the Bullpups within 27-22. McPherson failed to score for more than seven minutes, as well.
McPherson, which lost to Olathe South in the McPherson title games in 2010 and 2011, shot 26.7 percent (12 of 45).
“If shots aren’t falling, and you can’t create offense by attacking the basket because they’re always in good position, it’s tough,” Strathman said. “… They were forcing us quite a ways out on the floor, making it tough to enter anything to the wing. Everything we were doing was dribble entries, trying to relieve pressure. We didn’t do a very good job getting the ball inside, but they obviously had a lot to do with that.”
Loecker had a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds. She was 5 of 15 from the field.
Olathe South kept the ball in the hands of sophomore Kylee Kopatich as much as possible. She scored 20 of her game-high 26 points in the second half.
“She played really well,” Olathe South coach Steve Ingram said. “With (teammate) Bailey (Rinehart) going down with a knee injury, I think she tried to shoulder some more of that responsibility.”
Manhattan 49, Andale 41 — The difference in physical play between Manhattan (Class 6A) and the usual 4A teams Andale faces didn’t surprise Andale senior Emily Rowland.
Knowing the physicality was coming didn’t make it any easier to handle, though.
“I knew we would have a struggle with physicalness because we’re scrawny little things,” said Rowland, whose team is now 11-1.
Andale coach Mark Kerschen added: “They’re a physical, good defensive team…. They have big bodies inside and they’re long.”
Andale trailed 7-2 early, then went on a 17-3 run for a 19-10 lead early in the second quarter. Then the offense dried up. Andale failed to score from the 4:03 mark of the second period to 2:49 in the third.
“When you’re trying to score and you can’t, that’s the most frustrating thing in basketball,” Rowland said. “You’re trying to force up shots, they’re not going in. You want the refs to call a foul to bail you out. That’s when you start mentally getting unfocused.”
Andale got within 38-35 with 2:33 to go after a three by Brittany Meyer, who had a game-high 17 points.
“We got some nice shots down three,” Kerschen said. “We had three shots down three but didn’t get them in.”
Manhattan was led in scoring by Caroline Ballard and Darby Price, who each had 13.
Valley Center 66, Southeast 37 — Valley Center coach Daniel Smith wanted the Hornets to get the ball inside first against Southeast. While they did just that, they were most effective from three.
Valley Center hit 4 of 4 three-pointers in the opening period, two from Madison Wedekind, as the Hornets raced to a 21-4 first-quarter lead.
“That’s very uncharacteristic for us, for sure,” Smith said of the threes. “… The best thing about it was I felt like we worked inside-out. Several times we started inside and came out, swung around and hit some shot. It was built upon what we did in the second half (in the first round loss to Manhattan).”
Wedekind finished with a game-high 22 points, hitting 9 of 13 shots, while Meagan Williams had 18 points, 13 rebounds.
Southeast’s Cheyenne Bullock had a team-high 18 points and seven rebounds.
Valley Center will play Hays in the fifth-place game at 3:45 p.m. Saturday, while Southeast will play Dodge City for seventh place at 2 p.m..
Olathe South 43, McPherson 35
MCPHERSON: Ruder 5, Pyle 2, Willems 5, Pedersen 6, Loecker 17. Totals 12 (4) 7-9 35.
OLATHE SOUTH: Finks 5, Matje 3, White 3, Kopatich 26, Samskey 2, Morton 4. Totals 13 (3) 14-24 43.
Manhattan 49, Andale 41
MANHATTAN: Williams 2, Ehie 6, McNair 11, Thompson 4, Ballard 13, Price 13. Totals 16 (1) 16-21 49.
ANDALE: R. Eck 7, J. Eck 8, Meyer 17, E. Rowland 4, L. Rowland 5. Totals 13 (6) 9-11 41
Valley Center 66, Southeast 37
VALLEY CENTER: Wedekind 9 2-3 22, Johnson 3 1-2 8, Barnes 1 5-6 8, Williams 7 4-7 18, Anderson 3 0-0 6, Coleman 2 0-0 4. Totals 25 (4) 12-18 66.
SOUTHEAST: Plowden 1 1-3 3, Arline 4 0-0 9, Hardwell 0 1-4 1, Bullock 8 2-2 18, McCoy 1 0-2 2, Grim 1 0-3 2, Ines 0 0-0 0, Taylor 0 2-2 2. Totals 15 (1) 6-16 37.