By Anne Hassler Heidel, McPherson News
SALINA – From the tip-off of the game by Bullpup Senior Mandi Cook right to teammate Taylor Robertson’s hands, it felt like this was the way it was meant to happen. Not in a landslide or a cushy cruise to victory but the hard fought culmination of years of hard work had all come down to this.
“This is something I know I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little kid coming to watch the Bullpups at state so it’s a dream come true,” Robertson said of the Bullpups’ OT victory to win the 4A Div. State Championship Saturday in Salina.
It was a rematch between the McPherson High Bullpups and the Shawnee Mission Bishop Miege Stags from last year’s championship games.
The Bullpups trailed by nine points after the first half and looked like they might be out of luck going into the third quarter. But the Pups were able to rally and get the momentum back outscoring Miege 8-7 in the third quarter and 17-9 in the fourth quarter.
The final minutes of the regular period saw key baskets by Robertson at the foul line and Cooks in the paint but it was a three-point basket by Junior Riley Hett with 33 seconds left that tied the game 51-51 and forced it into overtime.
The Bullpups remained cool under pressure as Robertson made seven shots from the free throw line and Hett made four in overtime. The Stags scored two three-pointers and one free throw but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Bullpups who won 62-58.
“It was really exciting trying to stay as focused and as poised as possible just doing everything we can to get the lead and hold on to it,” Robertson said of the overtime period.
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