Central girls get revenge in 62-46 win over McPherson
ANDOVER—It’s easy to say it’s just another game but the way the No. 1 in Class 5A played it on Saturday afternoon, it was anything but.
The Andover Central Jaguars ran their winning streak to 37 consecutive games with the 62-46 win over Class 4A No. 3 McPherson.
“We talked before the game about just playing our game and not let this “big game” tear us a part,” Senior Jayden Newfarmer said. “We probably played the best team ball we played all season.”
The win is revenge for their only loss in the last two seasons, a 60-55 overtime loss to Mac on this same floor on Dec. 10, 2019, a span of 431 days.
“It’s a big game but it’s not,” Senior Bailey Wilborn said. “We remember what happened last season and how quickly it can be taken away. We play every game the same.”
Wilborn scored 16 points and did a majority of it in the second quarter. She scored eight of 10 points in a span of three minutes as the Jaguars saw their led balloon from a tied game to a 32-21 lead with 4:10 remaining until halftime.
“Stana [Jefferson] has a lot of faith in her [Wilborn],” Newfarmer said. “We knew she was going to play smart defense. Her being smart helped us out because we need her on the court.”
The senior hit four threes in the first half in route to the Jaguars leading 41-28 at the break.
Then, it was Ellie Stearns turn. The junior took on the responsibility of guarding Grace Pyle and stepped up in a big way. Even leading the Jaguars with 17 points, she guarded the Pittsburg State commit, holding her scoreless in the second half.
Stearns is no strangers to guarding the team’s best offensive player and made her time worth it.
“She played some of the best defense I’ve seen her play,” Newfarmer said. “Her defense really helped us, too.”
Brittany Harshaw and Stearns traded threes and a technical foul gave Central a handful of free throws.
Central never led by 20 or more but their statement was made.
“There composure tonight was fantastic,” Jefferson said. “They never let themselves get down or bothered by anything on the court. They were able to control their emotions and I’m just super proud of that.”
Harshaw finished with 15 points for the Jaguars.
The Jaguars shot 55.5 percent on the night and a scorching 66.7 percent from beyond the arc. They were perfect from the field in the third quarter.
“We took the right shots and did all the hustle plays we needed to do,” Newfarmer said.
They held McPherson to 30 percent on the night and 24 percent from three. Their physical defense had McPherson visibly frustrated.
“We knew we needed to be physical with them because they’re a physical team,” Newfarmer said. “We were able to get under their skin a little bit. That helps.”
The win over McPherson is the ninth win over a ranked opponent this season.
With four games remaining on the schedule, Andover Central will try to remain locked in as their goal of a State Championship is drawing near. The play Arkansas City and Goddard next week.
“We only know how to play one way,” Newfarmer said. “We just have to keep playing the way we are playing.”
Andover Central 62, McPherson 46
Andover Central 19;12;14;7—62
Mac: Beam 3 (4) 0-1 18, Pyle 0 (2) 6-8 12, Malm 3 (0) 2-2 8, Howard 2 (0) 0-1 4, Labertew 0 (0) 2-4 2, Pelzel 1 (0) 0-0 2. TOTALS: 9 (6) 10-16 46.
AC: Stearns 2 (3) 4-6 17, Wilborn 1 (4) 2-2 16, Harshaw 2 (3) 2-2 15, Amekporfor 3 (0) 2-4 8, Newfarmer 2 (0) 2-5 6, Wheatley 0 (0) 0-2 0. TOTALS: 10 (10) 12-19 62.