“Don’t break them down, build them up” is the mindset of El Dorado High School girls basketball coach head coach Jordan Crawford as he watches his Lady Wildcats get outplayed and outnumbered by McPherson High School, losing to the Lady Pups 81-18.

The Lady Cats were undersized and full of underclassmen on the roster going against a powerhouse team on their home court and loaded with seniors led by star player Taylor Robertson. El Dorado remained scoreless halfway through the first quarter. Then four more in the second.

“We knew what we were up against, but for now you’re an underclassmen and undersize going up against one of the top teams in the state; it’s an uphill battle,” Crawford said.

Crawford knew first hand what he was up against because once upon a time, the McPherson native was a Bullpup standout back in his day before graduating in the class of the 2007. Bullpups boys basketball coach Kurt Kinnamon coached Crawford and saw the potential in him as player and now as a young head coach.

“He’s always been a student of the game and always coming to me as a player,” Kinnamon said. “I know he’s not going to quit working and that’s what you have to do. I hope that his hard work will pay off some day.”

Trailing 50-6 at halftime, the 29-year old coach kept inspiring the Lady Cats to keep playing at their best regardless of what the scoreboard said. It showed in the third quarter when the Lady Cats shot their first two 3-pointers of the night led by both Madi Michaelis and Kelsi McLaren. They would then score their highest points of the quarter with 12.

“I think halftime benefitted us. When we go into it, we needed to keep our spirits up and we competed for a little while,” Crawford said. “I would dare to say we were within a five point ballgame if you just take the score in the third quarter.”

Guarding Robertson was a tough task for El Dorado as she lead the Lady ‘Pups with 27 points. Crawford has been amazed on the growth and development of the Oklahoma commit and is looking forward to seeing her mature more as she competes at the college level.

“She doesn’t miss often. In fact the whole squad doesn’t miss often. She’s a very good player. I’m excited for her as a McPherson native to see her play at a high level and wish her nothing but the best,” Crawford said.

The Lady Cats fall to 1-17 of the year with five more games left on their schedule. Their next game will be on the road Tuesday night against Circle High School. It maybe a losing year for Crawford and his Lady Cats, but he still believes in his players and the future.

“I feel like our girls didn’t quit. To get down like by that much, it would be easy to fold and call it a night but we didn’t do that. It will make us better,” Crawford said. “Sometimes you have to take your losses and your bumps and you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s how you can truly impact these young ladies.”

The Lady Pups improve their record to 16-1 with four more games left. They head back on the road to face Winfield High School on Tuesday at 6 p.m.