The defending 4A-I state champion McPherson Bullpups played their season-opener without their head coach on the sideline. Last week, McPherson girls head Chris Strathman discovered a cancerous tumor in his colon and will not act as the head coach for the remainder of the semester. Thursday morning, Strathman went into surgery. According to a tweet from McPherson High School, the mass was successfully removed and no additional cancer was discovered by the scans. Despite being in the hospital for the Bullpups season-opener, Strathman and his family were able to watch the game thanks to Andover High School steaming the game online.

The McPherson coaching staff of Mike Reith, Tim Ellet, and Shelly Prescott stepped up and led the Bullpups to a 55-44 victory over the Andover Trojans on Friday night at Andover High School.

In the first half, McPherson’s full-court pressure was rattling the Trojans, and McPherson capitalized on some early turnovers to go up 13-7 after one quarter. All four of McPhersons first-quarter field goals were from beyond the arc as Emma Ruddle and Hannah Hageman each knocked down a pair of triples.

McPherson opened the second quarter on a 9-2 run and went into the locker room with a double digit lead. At the half, Andover’s Shanti Henry had 11 of the Trojans’ 23 points.

McPherson hung onto a double digit lead for the remainder of the game and cruised to a 55-44 win.

Andover’s Shanti Henry scored a game-high 18 points. Kate Ralston was also in double figures with 10 points. Kylee Gaddis and Emma Cunningham each added 7 points in the loss.

Four Bullpups finished in double figures. Emma Ruddle led the Bullpups balanced attack with 12 points. Hannah Hageman, Grace Pyle, and Riley Hett each scored 10.

Andover will look to bounce back and pick up their first win of the season at Andale on Tuesday, Dec. 4. McPherson will host Andover Central on Tuesday.