Ad Astra Radio Family Brands

Bullpup Girls Advance to 4A Semifinals, Defeating Topeka Hayden 65-41


By Grant Barrett, Ad Astra Radio


SALINA, Kan. – Early foul trouble seemed to be no trouble for the McPherson Bullpup Girls on Thursday, as they opened the Class 4A State Quarterfinals with a 65-41 win over the Topeka Hayden Wildcats. 

After his 16th state quarterfinal game in his 18 seasons, McPherson Head Coach Chris Strathman said, “We had to get a little settled.” He mentioned some uncharacteristic turnovers and frustration fouls that could cost his team against the remaining opponents.

With just under five minutes to play in the first quarter, Chloe Clevenger would pick up her second foul, which brought Madi Moors off the bench, who immediately knocked down two from downtown, as the Pups would take a 15-8 lead after the first quarter. “Madi shot the ball great,” said Strathman,

MHS GBB 3.9.23
Photo By Cindy Kinnamon

“Every one of them looked good and that was great on her part for being ready to step in.”

Clevenger returned in the second quarter, banking in a three-pointer from well beyond the arc, Alexis Dukes and Karter Alvord would follow as the Pups would settle in to outscore the Wildcats 21-10 in the second quarter taking a 36-18 lead at the half.

“That can kind of take you out of your rhythm when your point guard that plays twenty-six to twenty-seven minutes a game, sits a little more than usual.” said Strathman, who was proud of the way his team responded. 

The Bullpup bench ensured there was no easing off the throttle, scoring 21 points, led by Moors who was 4/5 from deep, finishing with 12 points. Ava Romero also provided meaningful minutes getting the Pups into their offensive sets, while collecting 6 rebounds, 4 points, and a couple of steals.

“One of the concerns at halftime was that we had nine turnovers and there wasn’t a whole lot of pressure, it was just nerves.” Strathman said, “I was worried about what’s going to happen when they do apply pressure, which they obviously did. The second half we only had five turnovers, so we did a much better job of taking care of the basketball in the second half, which was good.”

In the second half, the Pups continued to pressure the Wildcats into difficult shots, rebounded and led in transition by Jordan Sears, as she finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Although the Pups didn’t force the Wildcats as many turnovers as they had in the previous sub-state games, they held Topeka Hayden to 9/41 from the field.

Strathman shifted his focus to the goals set in the preseason, saying  “We won the league undefeated, which was obviously a goal.” He said, “We wanted to win our tournament, but our number three goal was to win sub-state, which we’ve done,” He added, “The number four goal goes back to Coach Schaefer’s days, which is to simply play on Saturday.” Strathman mentioned not being able to play on Saturday last season, after falling to Wellington in the state quarterfinal. 

The Bullpups will face Andale at 8 p.m. Friday, in a rematch from January 17, which went to the Bullpups 41-29. With a win, the Pups will play the winner of No. 8 Bishop Miege and No. 5 Hugoton in the Class 4A State Championship on Saturday.


Notable Stats:
J. McLeod 6 reb, 5 pts, 2 ast
K. Alvord 13 pts, 6 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl
C. Clevenger 6 pts, 2 ast, 2 reb, 1 stl
J. Sears 15 pts, 15 reb, 2 stl, 2 ast
A. Dukes 5 pts, 4 reb, 1 blk
E. Bower 2 reb, 1 ast
M. Moors 12 pts, 2 ast
I. Backhus 2 pts
Al. Romero 1pt, 1 reb
Av. Romero 6 reb, 4 pts, 2 stl
R. Eilrich 2 pts, 1 reb