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Bullpups Claim Double-Digit Road Wins at Wichita Collegiate


By Grant Barrett, Ad Astra Radio


WICHITA, Kan. – The McPherson High Basketball teams were able to come out with impressive wins on Friday, where the girls were dominant from start to finish, winning 69-17, while the boys had to fight tooth and nail for their 68-52 win on the road against 1-loss, Wichita Collegiate.

The transition points came in bunches for the Bullpup Girls, opening the game on a 9-3 run, before back-to-back threes would fall from Jordan Sears and Karter Alvord to make it a 17-5 lead. “I thought overall our girls were pretty focused,” said Head Coach Chris Strathman, “we got off to a little bit of a slow start but after that, I thought we got out in transition really well, making the extra passes.” Although some shots didn’t fall, he was pleased with the way his team moved the ball. 

“Defensively, I thought we were locked in pretty well.” Strathman talked about a less intense scouting report for the (2-11) Spartans, and said, “I thought we’d be fine, and I’ve been working on Hays stuff for next Tuesday.”

The Pups would take a 45-12 lead after Reanna Eilrich’s floater fell through just before time expired. She finished with a career-high 9 points in the contest, and in the third, the Pups would outscore the Collegiate 20-2, as they would go on to win 69-17. “I thought every kid that stepped on the court tonight was ready, played pretty sharp, stayed ahead mentally, even when the margin got pretty large, I thought we stayed pretty focused tonight.”

When looking ahead to Tuesday’s matchup, Coach Strathman talked about the post-play of his next opponent, saying, “Hays will have some big kids in there, they’ve got one really big kid that comes off the bench, and will be a tough matchup for us.” He talked about how important it was to stay out of foul trouble and said, “I think of our remaining regular season game opponents, Hays is undoubtedly the most difficult opponent that we’ll face.”

McPherson Boys 68, Wichita Collegiate 52 – The Bullpup Boys would be in for a dogfight in the first half. After Owen Pyle and Kreighton Kanitz opened the game with back-to-back threes, Collegiate would answer. The Spartans would hold a two-point advantage before a controversial goaltending call was not called, which would have tied the game at 11; coincidently, the Spartans would immediately knock down a three-pointer, making it a five-point swing.

The Pups would find themselves trailing 17-9 in hostile conditions, and a time-out forced Coach Kinnamon to find an answer. 

Out of the timeout, McPherson handled the full-court pressure and would go on an 8-0 run, applying pressure of their own, and would tie the game following two straight baskets from Cory Muehler, but after a quarter, the Pups would trail 22-17.

 “Their pressure is different than anything we’ve seen because it can happen anywhere, anytime, any place on the floor,” said Bullpup Boys Head Coach Kurt Kinnamon. “We had some guys who didn’t handle it as well as they know they need to, and we had some guys who handled it extremely well.” 

He mentioned instances in the first where he felt that Kyden Thompson shied away from the ball, and said, “Why wouldn’t we want the ball in his hands? The kid is a great free throw shooter.” Thompson had a perfect night at the free throw line, going 12/12, he got the Pups on the board in the third, breaking a 35-35 tie. After Cory Muehler rattled in a corner three, the Spartans would be forced to call a timeout, as they saw their largest deficit of five, quickly grow to 10, after Thompson finished a three-point play through contact.

The Pups would open the third on a 12-2 run, before out-scoring the Spartans 19-7 in the quarter. They would lead 54-42 and stretched their lead with gritty defensive plays from Owen and Gabe Pyle, who finished with a combined 18 points. “I don’t know what Gabe’s standing reach is, but it is long, he jumps pretty well, and he’s crafty,” said Kinnamon following the 68-52 win.

“I’m really, really happy with that win, that’s a good road win against a team that’ll probably do really well in 3A basketball, and against a team that started three freshmen; to think that their future is not bright is crazy, so proud of our guys, great win, and we had been off, maybe we had a little rust at the beginning, we’ll use that as an excuse, but we hadn’t played in a week, had a great week of practice and these guys love to play, and that’s what I love about them.”

The Bullpup Boys move to 11-3 on the season, while the girls move to 12-2. They will return to the Roundhouse on Tuesday, when they host Hays, with tipoff set for 6 and 7:30 p.m.