The McPherson County Rivalry was as good as advertised Wednesday night at the Sports Center in McPherson. Bethany scored 85 points in the final 25 minutes of the contest to rally for a 109-100 overtime win.
McPherson used a 23-4 run midway through the first half to take a 44-24 lead into the locker room. Bethany hit just one of their first 13 3-pointers, and trailed by as many as 21 in the first stanza.
Bethany started chipping away at the deficit from the get-go in the second half. The Swedes used a 5-0 burst to trim it to 44-29 in the first minute of the final session. Reed Stephens came off the bench red-hot and finished the night with 23 points, on 6-12 shooting from beyond the arc.
After Bethany had trimmed it to single digits for the first time in the second half, McPherson answered with back to back baskets and led 72-56 with 6:27 to go in the game. Bethany amplified their defensive intensity, picking up full court, and went on a 19-4 run to trim the Bulldogs lead to 76-75 with 3:18 left.
After a driving layup dropped for Jeffrey Oxford, McPherson led by four with less than a minute to go, 84-80. Bethany’s Tyler Larkin countered with a quick two to cut the lead in half 84-82. McPherson’s Aaron Bachura split two free throws with 0:09 left to make it 85-82 Bulldogs. After a Bethany timeout, McPherson elected to foul Bethany in the open floor with 0:05 remaining, and Larkin sunk two charities. With Bethany down by one, 85-84, freshman Michael Simpson stole the in-bounds pass, attacked the basket, and drew a foul. His first free throw clanked hard off the right side of the rim, but his second free throw went off the heel, high into the air, and through the net on the way down to tie the game at 85.
Bethany poured it on in overtime, outscoring McPherson 24-15 in the extra five minutes. Larkin finished with 31 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Isiah Saenz had 13, and Thomas Hood chipped in with 12.
Bethany returns home to host Kansas Wesleyan on Saturday. That game will be featured as the KCAC “Game of the Week” and air on eight radio stations throughout Kansas. It can be heard on KVOB 95.5, and KZUH 92.7 locally with tipoff at 7pm.
Bethany 64, McPherson 56
Another monkey is off the back of the Bethany women’s basketball team. The Swedes snapped a six game road losing streak to McPherson, with a 64-56 win at the Sports Center Wednesday night. The Swedes have won seven of their last nine games, and won their fifth straight road game.
After trailing by as many as seven in the fourth quarter, Bethany closed the game on a 12-3 run.
Bethany clamped down defensively, and held McPherson to 25% shooting from the floor. The Swedes leading scorer, Lauren Welsch, was bothered by foul trouble in the first half, but finished the game with 20 points, and seven rebounds.
Bethany moves to 8-5 in league play, and 12-8 overall.
Bethany returns home to host Kansas Wesleyan on Saturday. That game will be featured as the KCAC “Game of the Week” and air on eight radio stations throughout Kansas. It can be heard on KVOB 95.5, and KZUH 92.7 locally with pregame coverage at 4:45pm.