Ad Astra Radio Family Brands

McPherson Basketball Concludes 2022 With Wins at the 810 Varsity Showcase


By Grant Barrett, Ad Astra Radio


SHAWNEE, Kan. – The (4-1) McPherson High Basketball teams had one final test before concluding the 2022 portion of the season on Saturday, as they competed in the 810 Varsity Showcase, which included some of the top-ranked teams in Kansas and Missouri.

In the girls game, it was a matchup of four seeds in Class 4 and 5A, as the Bullpups took on the (2-1) St. James Academy Thunder, both teams in action for their second game in as many nights. McPherson coming off of a 54-30 win against Winfield, while St. James was coming off their first loss of the season Friday when they fell to St. Thomas. 

From the tip, Jordan Sears put her stamp on the game and would hit back-to-back threes, which would give the Pups a 15-5 lead, but after picking up her second foul, the Thunder were able to make it a 19-16 lead after a period, as Sears had 12 in the quarter. “We did have an incredible individual scoring performance by Jordan Sears,” said Head Coach Chris Strathman as she finished with 36 points, tying her for 3rd in single-game scoring for the Bullpup Girls Basketball Program. “She finished plays, had a few 3’s, and made 9-10 FTs, so she scored in a lot of ways.  Just a great game by Jordan.”

In the second quarter, Karter Alvord got in on the action. After being held scoreless in the first, she would have 13 of the 26 Bullpup points, as MHS found their largest lead of the game at 38-21. “I also felt that Karter Alvord had just a phenomenal game on both ends of the floor. She was assigned to defend their outstanding sophomore, Reese Messer. Karter followed the scout perfectly and really made her work, holding her to just 8 points, which is way below her average.” said Strathman, as his team would go into the break leading 44-28. However, the Thunder would start to rumble in the second half. 

St. James would force McPherson into some uncharacteristic turnovers, and would continue to chip away to outscore the Pups 18-11, cutting the lead to 55-46 going into the fourth. 

The Thunder would take the momentum into the fourth and would trail 59-53 before Alvord would knock down a corner three to halt St. James’ run momentarily. SJA wouldn’t go away quietly, as a 3-point play would make it a 64-61 Bullpup lead with three minutes to go. 

Both teams would struggle to muster a possession that ended with points, until Sears would hit two free throws with just over a minute to go, giving the Pups a two-possession lead late, forcing the Thunder to foul, and she would seal the game with an offensive rebound after a missed free throw, as the Bullpups would hold on to win 69-61. “Great win for our ladies versus St. James, a very highly regarded and talented team.” said Strathman, “They are an extremely gifted and aggressive team offensively, but we were able to lead the entire way as we held off multiple runs.” He concluded by saying, “We made mistakes but were able to play through them and hold them off, which I felt showed a lot of toughness on our part.  It was an excellent win for us as we head into our Christmas break this next week.”

He mentioned that they hope Alexis Dukes is back after the break, as she’s been out the last two games. He said, “We will need to be at full strength for a busy January, and just really want Alexis to experience and enjoy her senior year so, really hope to get her back.”


Bullpup Girls Scoring Summary

Sears 36 pts

Alvord 19 pts

Moors 8 pts

Av. Romero 4 pts

Al. Romero 1 pt

Clevenger 1 pt


In the boys game, the top-seeded (4-1) McPherson Bullpups matched up against the host of the 810 Varsity Showcase, the (1-2)Shawnee Mission Northwest Cougars. The Cougars entered Saturday unranked in Class 6A, following a one-point loss to Olathe East on Friday, while the Bullpups entered with a three-game winning streak, after defeating Winfield 84-47.

Cory Muehler and Owen Pyle would give the Pups a 6-2 lead early after knocking down back-to-back threes to begin the game, but the speed and athleticism of the Cougars kept them in the game, as they forced the Bullpups to break full-court pressure most of the night. “The stat that jumps out at me is that we only turned it over 8 times against that pressure which I thought was really good,” said Head Coach Kurt Kinnamon.

The Bullpup pressure was just as solid. They were able to beat the Cougars back in transition, taking a 19-14 lead after a quarter, and the Pups would build on that lead in the second quarter on the shoulders of Muehler, who finished with 19 for the game. “I thought the first half we were pretty good,” said Kinnamon, as the Pups led 35-24 at the break. “Cory was huge for us going 4 for 4 from three.” 

But, much like the Bullpup Girls, it was a tale of two halves for the Bullpup Boys, and after a low-scoring third quarter, they would cling to an 8-point lead going into the fourth. 

For the Cougars, 6’9 freshman Ethan Taylor had impacted a number of the Bullpup shots, keeping Shawnee Mission Northwest within striking distance, but the up-and-down style would limit his minutes. “I’m thankful that Taylor wasn’t able to play more minutes than he did because he caused all kinds of problems inside. He changed a bunch of shots,” said Kinnamon. 

The Pups would have a 48-40 lead with three minutes to go but would struggle from the free-throw line late, with a few uncharacteristic misses, which led to the Cougars making it a 55-52 McPherson lead, but the Bullpups would get the ball in the hands of Kyden Thompson, who has been incredible from the line to begin the season, who made it a 5-point lead before a layup at the buzzer made it a 3-point Bullpup win. “We made it exciting, and made just enough plays at the end,” said Kinnamon, following a 57-54 win. “It is so nice when we know that we can put the ball in Kyden’s hands at the end of the game,” Kinnamon recalled that he’s missed just one free throw on the season with over 30 attempts this season. “Happy to win that game against a physical 6A team, thought we showed some toughness and were able to pull it out.” said Kinnamon, as he concluded by saying, “It was good to play that many minutes and fight through it, and it’s going to make the trip home much sweeter.”

Both Bullpup teams go into the Holiday Break riding a 4-game winning streak, and they will return on Friday, January 6, 2023, when they host the Circle Thunderbirds at the Historic McPherson High School Roundhouse. The Girls will tip at 6 p.m. The Boys will follow around 7:30 p.m.


Bullpup Boys Scoring Summary

Muehler 19 pts

Miller 10 pts

Kr. Kanitz 9 pts

Thompson 8 pts

O. Pyle 7 pts

G. Pyle 4 pts