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McPherson too much for Andover girls

Matt Jacobs

ANDOVER, Kan. - Grace Pyle poured in a career-high 3 pointers to lead McPherson past Andover 72-49 on Saturday afternoon at the Andover Middle School gymnasium.

Pyle scored 16 of her team’s 20 points in the third quarter alone, as the Bullpups put the game out of reach.

Andover had hung tough through the first half. The Trojans trailed by double digits late in the first quarter before Mallory Woolston hit a three-quarter court shot at the buzzer that cut McPherson’s lead to 18-10.

Andover trimmed the gap to four points midway through the second quarter before McPherson pushed the lead by to double digits as a Pyle steal and layup on the other end made it 29-19 with 2:51 left in the first half.

Woolston, who had a big first half offensive, scored the final five points of the second quarter and McPherson’s lead at the break was just six at 35-29.

After Woolston knocked in another 3-pointer with 5:40 left in the third quarter, Andover was still hanging around, trailing 39-34.

But that’s when Pyle really took over. She scored nine straight points in less than two minutes and McPherson took it’s biggest lead of the game at 48-34.

After Andover scored five straight, she responded with five more points of her own. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, Pyle had 32 points in the book and McPherson had a 55-40 lead with the game firmly in hand.

“That’s one of the best players in the state,” Andover coach Seth Anderson said. “It takes a group effort to defend her and we just don’t have the bodies to throw at her, so honestly it’s just a matter of time with her.”

Pyle, a senior who is headed for Pittsburg State next year, was perhaps a little extra aggressive in Saturday’s win.

“She took some threes, and one was really deep,” said McPherson coach Chris Strathman. “But she also picked her spots as far as attacking. When people are running at her, she’s obviously skilled enough to be able to get to the basket and finish. She can squeeze through there and figure out ways to get it up off the glass, sho she’s a creative scorer. She can score at all three levels, so she’s tough to guard.”

Pyle’s effort was so impressive that it overshadowed an exceptional game by Woolston, who followed up a 27-point game on Friday at Wichita Southeast with another 24 points on Saturday.

“They (McPherson) started to face guard her,” Anderson said. “They knew that our chance to score was for her to score a lot of points. We didn’t have an answer and really haven’t practiced on how to get her open.

McPherson, which is now 2-0 on the season, will play El Dorado early next week before setting up two big weekend games against Dodge City on Friday and Barstow (Mo.) on Saturday.

Andover, meanwhile, is now 0-3, falling Friday night at Wichita Southeast with a quick turnaround against McPherson.

“Our opening night at Campus, we didn’t have a lot of effort,”Anderson said. “Last night at Southeast, it was very physical and they stepped up to that challenge, and they were able to have that short turnaround and do the same thing today. So as a team, I think we’ve made huge steps and leaps physically. Now, in the second half, we got tired and fouls started piling up.

“The record shows that we haven’t won, but we have improved, which is what our goal is.”

McPherson - 18;17;20;17 - 72

Andover - 10;19;11;9 - 49

McPherson: Laberton 0 4-4 4, Beam 2 (4) 0-1 16, Schmid 1 0-0 2, Howard 1 1-4 3, Pyle 11 (4) 2-5 36, Alvord 0 0-2 0, Malm 1 0-0 2, Pelle 3 2-5 8. Totals: 19 (8) 9-19 72.

Andover: Walker 3 (1) 5-7 14, Woolston 4 (4) 4-4 24, Ralston (1) 1-2 4, Shetlar (2) 0-0 6, Eby 0 0-2 0, Forney 0 1-2 1. Totals: 7 (8)