Bethany’s Tyler Larkin knocked down a foul line jumper with 13.9 seconds remaining, and Bethany escaped McPherson with a 72-71 win Saturday night at the Sport Center.
The Swedes avoided surrendering a 21 point lead, and finished off a season sweep of the McPherson County Rivalry.
Bethany couldn’t miss in the first half, and raced out to a 23-4 advantage in the first nine minutes. McPherson trimmed the deficit to 36-23 with three minutes remaining in the first session, before Bethany pulled away once again. It was 44-23 Bethany with just over a minute before intermission.
Bridging together the two halves, McPherson went on a 12-0 run and started chipping away at the Bethany lead. A Chamaje Barideaux fade-away jumper put the Bulldogs on top for the first time all game,69-68, with 2:40 to play. After a pair of Frederick Watts free throws, McPherson extended their lead to three, 71-68, with 1:49 remaining in the contest.
From that point forward, it was the Larkin show. The all-league Bethany guard scored on a fast break layup to make it 71-70, with 1:04 left. McPherson then turned it over on their next possession, setting up Bethany for the potential game-winner. With forward Mookie Duncan bottled up in the post, Larkin curled to the foul line and buried a jumper with only 13.9 seconds remaining. The Swedes clamped down on the next possession, and Duncan denied McPherson’s final shot.
Bethany returns to action on Wednesday against Friends. Pregame coverage begins at 7:45pm on KVOB 95.5 The Rock
Bethany 76, McPherson 61
Bethany won all four quarters in McPherson on Saturday, throttling their rival 76-61 on the road.
Guard Kelsi Mueller hit six three-pointers for Bethany, and finished the game with 21 points. As a unit, Bethany went 11-23 from beyond the arc. Known for their defense, Bethany is 10-0 this season when they knock down eight or more triples.
The Swedes suffocated McPherson for the full 40 minutes, and held the Bulldogs to 26% shooting.
Bethany improved to 9-11 in league play. The Swedes hit the floor against Wednesday, at Friends. Pregame coverage at 5:45pm on KVOB 95.5 The Rock.