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Bullpups Complete Season Sweep of Buhler at Sports Arena


By Grant Barrett, Ad Astra Radio


HUTCHINSON, Kan. – The historic Hutchinson Sports Arena held the McPherson and Buhler rivalry on Tuesday, where the Bullpup Basketball teams were able to improve on their overall record with double-digit wins, to complete the season sweep of the Crusaders.

After an 81-26 McPherson victory in December, the Crusaders came out much improved and were unfazed in the first half by the Bullpup pressure. Natalya Krafels kept the Crusaders in the game in the first half, as she went into the break leading with a game-high 8 points and 7 rebounds, but McPherson’s Madi Moors would knock down a corner three to end the first half, which gave the Pups a 20-17 lead at the half.

“Our girls probably weren’t very happy that it was an extended halftime,” said McPherson Head Coach Chris Strathman, who talked about challenging his team during the break, and he was proud of the way his team responded in the second half. “I did something I haven’t done ever, and that’s call a timeout twelve seconds into the third quarter,” Strathman explained the frustration from failing to set up a set play out of the break. 

Strathman’s message was delivered, and after a sluggish first half, the Pups took control of the game with an 18-2 third quarter, forcing 11 turnovers in the quarter after forcing 10 the entire first half. Jayla McLeod led with 4 steals, finishing with 8 points and 5 rebounds, while Karter Alvord led the Bullpups in scoring with 15.

“You take that run away though, and Buhler played us even to their credit.” said Strathman, “They’ve improved a lot, they didn’t let our pressure bother them very much at all in the first half.

The Pups were able to get everybody who suited up an opportunity to get on the court in the 49-31 win, and following the game Coach Strathman said, “It’s unfortunate for Buhler to not be able to use their home gym, but this is a pretty decent secondary gym, this was a lot of fun. The Sports Arena’s a special place, it’s a beautiful facility, obviously a lot of history here, so it’s a good time.”

Following the win, the Pups move to 15-2 overall, and they will be back on the road Friday when they travel to Towanda to face the Circle Thunderbirds.

Notable Stats:
J. McLeod 8 pts, 5 reb, 4 stl, 2 ast, 1 blk
M. Moors 3 pts, 2 stl, 1 reb
K. Alvord 15 pts, 2 ast, 2 stl, 1 reb,
C. Clevenger 7 pts, 5 reb, 2 stl, 1 ast
J. Sears 5 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast
E. Bower 1 ast
I. Backhus 3 pts
Al. Romero 1 ast, 1 stl
Av. Romero 2 pts, 2 stl
R. Eilrich 4 pts, 2 ast, 1 stl
A. Dukes 2 pts, 1 ast, 1 stl


In the boys’ game, Owen Pyle started off with the hot hand, connecting on five of the first seven points of the game, as the Pups would take a 7-1 lead. Buhler, however, would answer back with an 8-2 run to tie the game.

McPherson struggled to pull away from the Crusaders, and Coach Kinnamon would call a timeout with his team clinging to a 15-13 lead. After making adjustments offensively and defensively, the Pups immediately found Kyden Thompson cutting back door on a set play. He was then tasked with playing the top of the extended zone, where he led with four steals on the night. The Pups would close the quarter on a 7-0 run, leading 22-13.

In the second quarter, Gavin Wedel would provide an 8-point spark off the bench, along with Gabe Pyle, as they combined for 17 points at the half. McPherson shot a perfect 5/5 from beyond the arc, and 17/23 from the field, as they would go into the break leading 46-22, outscoring the Crusaders 24-9 in the quarter. 

“I thought we just had a number of guys play well,” Kinnamon mentioned every player that contributed, and highlighted the career night from Wedel, who finished with a career-high 12 points, going 6/6 from the field.

Buhler would come out of the locker room on a 10-2 run, as they were led by Grant Ricker, who finished with 12 points, but the Pups would come out of a timeout to play even with the Crusaders in the third, and would get the game to a running clock early in the fourth, as they would go on to win 76-45.

Coach Kinnamon was pleased with his team’s performance after shooting 31/43 from the field, saying, “That’s the kind of shooting night that I’m glad to see,” Kinnamon never fails to mention the three-pointer as ‘fools gold’. After analyzing the stats and recognizing his team collected 23 assists on the night he said, “Wow, I don’t ever remember that I’ve had a team get twenty-three assists, so that talks about how they share the ball, and they did a good job of that.”

Following the win, the Bullpups move to 14-3, and they will prepare to face the Circle Thunderbirds in Towanda. The Thunderbirds’ only loss of the season came to McPherson on January 6.

Notable Stats:
O. Pyle 16 pts, 6 reb, 3 stl, 2 ast
C. Muehler 17 pts, 5 ast, 3 reb, 1 stl
K. Thompson 9 pts, 5 ast 4 stl, 1 reb,
K. Kanitz 5 pts, 4 reb, 2 stl, 2 ast,
M. Miller 6 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast
B. Brown 1 ast
H. Hozie 1 ast, 1 stl
G. Pyle 11 pts, 5 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk
G. Wedel 12 pts, 2 reb, 2 ast