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Alvord and Sears Propel Bullpup Girls, While Hays Boys Take Pups to the Wire

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By Grant Barrett, Ad Astra Radio

 

McPHERSON, Kan, – The Bullpup Basketball teams returned to the Roundhouse for the first time since their midseason tournaments on Tuesday, as they played host to the Hays Indians.

In the girls’ game, both Mac and Hays would alternate 5-0 runs to begin the game, before Karter Alvord would knock down her second three-pointer of the quarter, as she finished with a team-high 17 points on the night. Madi Moors would also connect from downtown later in the quarter, and the Pups would go into the second quarter leading 13-11.

The Pups opened the second period by scoring six of the first seven points, but it became a defensive battle over the final four minutes. The only points in the quarter from Hays came from the foul line, as the Pups would go into the half leading 21-15. 

“We didn’t shoot the ball real great,” said MHS Head Coach Chris Strathman following the game. “I was hoping we’d get some threes to go, and get them out of that zone because I thought they’d have a really hard time staying with us in transition.” He thought Hays would have a hard time guarding the Pups’ man-to-man sets, but he said, “We just couldn’t get enough threes to go, to bust them out of it.”

Strathman talked about how they look to improve attacking the zone inside, and getting more post touches, expecting to see less man-to-man defense this second time around against league opponents.

Out of the locker room, the Pups would attack the paint, and got the ball into the hands of Jordan Sears, who scored the first 12 points for the McPherson out of the break; showing her versatility finishing through contact, as well as expanding her range, knocking down a three-pointer in the span in which the Pups were able to extend their lead to 33-19, before back-to-back baskets from Reanna Eilrich. 

The Bullpups would go into the fourth leading 39-21, after outscoring Hays 18-6 in the third, but the only MHS free throw attempt through three quarters came after Jordan Sears finished through contact during her third-quarter run. She finished just one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 16 points and 9 rebounds.

The Bullpups would attempt 14 free throws in the final quarter, ending the game going 12/15 from the line, as 11 of the 13 points came from the foul line in the fourth quarter. Both teams ended with 13 points in the final period, but it was the Pups who would use a big third quarter to win 52-34.

Notable Stats:
J. McLeod 4 pts, 5 reb, 2 stl, 1 blk, 1 ast
K. Alvord 17 pts, 1 stl, 1 ast, 1 reb
C. Clevenger 4 pts, 5 ast, 2 reb, 1 blk, 1 stl
J. Sears 16 pts, 9 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl
A. Dukes 6 reb, 2 stl, 1 ast
M. Moors 7 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast
Av. Romero 1 ast, 1 stl
R. Eilrich 4 pts, 3 reb

The Bullpup Boys would take the court next, and after trading possessions early, Kyden Thompson and Mason Miller were able to get the Pups on the board, both earning three points the hard way. McPherson would take a 10-0 lead, as it appeared that it’d be a runaway victory for McPherson, but Hays hung around all night, cutting into the MHS lead, trailing 16-9 after quarter one.

Multiple times throughout the night, the Pups would be on the cusp, of a double-digit lead, before Hays would eventually fight their way back, and in the second quarter, the Bullpups lead 22-19 before Hayden Hoxie would knock down a three from the wing, and on the box out, he would be awarded two free throws, with Hays in the double bonus. However, the Pups were unable to extend their lead, and it was Hays scoring just before time expired, and the Pups would go into the locker room leading 26-21, as Owen Pyle and Mason Miller led with 6 points at the break.

The Pups would get some meaningful minutes out of Gavin Wedel in the third quarter with Mason Miller and Kreighton Kanitz on the bench, Coach Kinnamon mentioned the disadvantage in height when Miller and Kanitz are off the court, but Wedel had three points in three minutes, including keeping a possession alive with an offensive rebound.

The Pups would then collect back-to-back three-point plays, as Owen Pyle and Kyden Thomspon would display their finishing ability around the rim through contact, as the Pups would extend their lead to 39-31, but after Cory Muehler made it a 10-point lead, but Hays would link a 7-0, which began at the end of the third, and continued into the fourth, as the Bullpup lead shrunk to 41-38 before Kreighton Kanitz would finish an and-one.

The teams would then alternate finishes through contact, but a brief cold stretch by the Pups would give Hays a 48-47 lead before Kyden Thompson would come out of the timeout taking his opponent one-on-one, where he finished the three-point play. Hays would have a couple of chances at making it a one-possession game, but Cory Muehler came up with back-to-back steals, in a heroic stretch where he finished with seven points in the quarter, as the Bullpups would hold on to win 56-50.

Following the game, Coach Kinnamon was displeased with the way his team closed out the game, listing the rebound margin that favored Hays, along with a few uncharacteristic turnovers, and missed free throws down the stretch, which he felt made things closer than it needed to be. 

“I told the guys in the locker room, ‘Guys there’s no reason for you to lack confidence,’ and some of them lack confidence.” he mentioned Cory Muehler’s ability to be unfazed down the stretch, “I wish we could all be like Cory because whatever has previously happened does not bother him. He basically won the game for us with two huge steals. He just made tremendous plays on the ball, and I thought he did a really good job on (Jack) Weimer all night.” Muehler held the shifty Hays point guard to just 4/12 from the field, and 0/4 from deep.

Although Hays came into Tuesday with six losses, Coach Kinnamon said, “That team is 8-7, but you look, and they have no bad losses, no bad losses at all, and they’re going to come into as an eight, nine seed that nobody’s going to want to play,” he said, “They’re athletic, they’re strong, they’re well coached.” 

Following the games, both coaches emphasized the importance of Friday, not only returning to league action against Winfield but also ‘Think Pink Night’. 

The Final regular season is Friday, at the Roundhouse with tip-off with the girls at 6 p.m. The Boys will follow around 7:30.

Notable Stats:
O. Pyle 9 pts, 3 reb, 1 stl
C. Muehler 12 pts, 4 ast, 2 stl
K. Thompson 11 pts, 4 reb, 2 ast, 1 blk, 1 stl
Kr. Kanitz 6 pts, 3 reb, 2 stl, 1 ast
M. Miller 10 pts, 5 reb, 2 stl
H. Hoxie 3 pts
G. Wedel 3 pts, 1 reb
G. Pyle 2 pts, 2 blk, 2 stl, 1 ast

 

Photos By Kendall Shaw