McPHERSON – After watching McPherson freshman Taylor Robertson set the nets on fire with seven three-pointers in the semifinals of the Mid-America Classic, the Olathe South girls basketball team was determined not to let her go off again.
So they designated their top defender, Zoe Matje, to face-guard Robertson and deny her from catching a pass. The strategy, for three quarters at least, worked and Olathe South was able to fend off McPherson for a 56-41 victory on Saturday night.
Robertson scored 14 points, but did not make a field goal for the first three quarters while Olathe South built a 10-point lead after the third quarter.
“We put our best defender on her,” Olathe South coach Steve Ingram said. “Zoe did a great job of keeping the ball out of her hands, which is all you can do.”
“If she can’t catch the ball, she can’t shoot the ball,” Matje echoed.
But McPherson survived a first half where Robertson was held scoreless for the first 13 minutes, as it kept Olathe South to within 19-18 at halftime.
The Bullpups could not, however, survive another quarter with Robertson being denied the ball. Olathe South finally strung together a run, scoring the first 10 points of the third quarter to open up the game.
“They’re not a team that’s easy to play uphill against,” McPherson coach Chris Strathman said. “They always make their free throws, it doesn’t matter who you foul. They never turn the ball over, either. They’re just not an easy team to come back on.”
Even with McPherson pressing for stops the entire fourth quarter, Olathe South remained steady and denied the Bullpups any momentum by limiting its turnovers to six total and making 21 of 27 of their free throws.
But McPherson (9-4) did make a push, as Strathman moved Robertson from running through screens off the ball to bringing the ball up the court to get the ball in her hands to start possessions.
That’s when Robertson found her stroke, making three jumpers in the fourth quarter. McPherson cut the deficit to seven points on three occasions in the fourth quarter, but would never draw any closer.
But Olathe South (11-2) never relinquished its grip for the title and remained perfect in its fourth appearance in the tournament, as it has won all four times now.
Kacey Kennett scored 19 points to lead Olathe South, while Dejanae Roebuck added 12 points.
“I’m really proud of the way we competed against a very good 6A, highly-ranked Olathe South team that’s always very good,” Strathman said.
Manhattan 49, Andale 36 — Andale lost its second game in a row after starting the season 10-0. Manhattan, ranked No. 7 in Class 6A, held Andale to 25 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers in the third-place game. Lauren Rowland scored 11 points to lead Andale, which trailed by at least seven points for the final 22 minutes.
Dodge City 47, Valley Center 38 — After taking a 12-7 lead after the first quarter, the Hornets (5-7) fell victim to cold shooting and shot 27 percent the remaining three quarters. Taylor Latimer led Valley Center with 14 points in the fifth-place game.
Southeast 57, Hays 55 — Behind a season-high 23 points from senior Alex Arline, the Buffaloes (2-11) snapped their nine-game losing streak in overtime in the seventh-place game. Jada Williams added 13 points for Southeast, including four three-pointers.
Olathe South: Holder 6, Matje 2, Kennett 19, Roebuck 12, Morton 8, Duncan 9.
McPherson: Wedel 4, Hoffman 3, Schieferecke 4, Robertson 14, Schmidt 3, Yowell 3, Collins 4, M. Cooks 6.
Manhattan: Ehie 4, Roberts 2, Ballard 14, James 8, McAtee 8, Fiser 3, Mittie 4, Wilson 6.
Andale: Easter 7, Meyer 7, Rowland 11, Friedrichs 7, Bergkamp 1, Venjohn 3.
Valley Center: Boese 4, Weaver 5, Reeves 5, Webber 6, Latimer 14, Richter 4.
Dodge City: B. Bradshaw 4, T. Bradshaw 3, Maple 5, Harshberger 15, Shelor 4, Nelson 14, Nichols 2.
Hays: Kleweno 9, Smith 1, Schlaefli 11, George 2, Schmeidler 12, Dinkel 3, Keller 13, Parrish 4.
Southeast: McCoy 7, Arline 23, Christon 3, W. Rentas 9, Williams 13, Joseph 2.