McPherson takes down Circle girls

Matt Jacobs

TOWANDA, Kan. - The fifth-ranked McPherson girls used a dominating second quarter on Friday evening at the Birdcage, beating the Thunderbirds 62-34 and snapping Circle’s six-game winning streak.

Circle put up a fight early, coming up with steals on McPherson’s first two possessions, but the Thunderbirds were unable to score either time. The Bullpups then jumped ahead 13-2 before Circle coach Brian Henry called a timeout with 4:13 left in the first quarter.

His team responded with seven straight points, as Kimalee Cook hit a pair of 3-pointer sandwiched around a free throw by Maci Claycamp, making it 13-9 at the 2:03 mark.

McPherson scored the final four points of the period and McPherson was up 17-9 after one.

Circle’s only bucket of the second quarter came from Claycamp at the 6:50 mark. McPerson would then score the final 20 points of the half to lead 39-11 at the break.

“I think the first half was a big difference of them being on fire and making a lot of shots, and we just couldn’t quite get our shots to fall,” Circle coach Brian Henry said. “They’re a great team and they ran the floor so well and we were always just kind of a step behind.”

McPherson’s Peyton Howard scored the first points of the second half and McPherson pushed its lead to 30 points for the first time in the game.

Circle didn’t break its scoring skid until Claycamp scored with 5:44 left in the third. She had a bucket in the pain and converted the free throw after being fouled for a traditional 3-point play.

When Ella Schmid hit a 3-pointer with 1:16 left in the third, McPherson pushed the lead past 40, going up 58-17.

“We were extremely happy with the girls,” McPherson coach Chris Strathman said. “The effort was outstanding. We made them work hard for every little thing that they got, while we were getting a lot of extra possessions by offensive rebounding, just crashing the boards and that really after a while is going to break the spirit of your opponent.”

Circle didn’t go quietly. Lanna Chase scored the final basket of the third, and then the T-Birds scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter, cutting the McPherson under 30 at 58-29, forcing a Bullpup timeout with 4:13 remaining.

Grace Pyle led McPherson with 18 points, knocking in three 3-pointers, while Cook led Circle with 11 points, also hitting three from 3-point range.

Both teams are now 6-2 on the season.

“We’ve been progressing each game and now we tell them that this is just one game,” Henry said. “We hope to learn from this. We will be able to pick apart some areas that we need to work on. We need to continue to work on our rebounding, we need to continue to work on finishing our plays and work on our transition defense as well as our offense.”

McPherson;9;22;19;4;—62

Circle;8;2;8;15;—34

CIRCLE - Michaelis 1 (2) 0-0 8, Chase 2 0-0 4, Thornton 1 (1) 0-0 5, Claycamp 2 2-3 6, Cook 1 (3) 0-0 11. Totals: 7 (6) 2-3 34

McPHERSON - Labertew 1 0-0 2, Beam 2 (4) 0-0 16, Schmid (1) 0-0 3, Howard 7 0-2 14, Wharton 1 0-0 2, Pyle 3 (3) 3-3 18, Alvord 1 0-0 2, Malm 2 0-0 4, Palzel 0 1-2 1. Totals: 17 (8) 4-7 62