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McPherson Boys STATE BOUND, Defeating Andale 49-37


By Grant Barrett, Ad Astra Radio


McPHERSON, Kan. – Andale and McPherson finished second and third in the Class 4A State Tournament a season ago, and Friday night, they met for the second time this season, with a trip to Salina’s Tony’s Pizza Event Center on the line.

In a back and forth first quarter, it was the Bullpups taking an 11-9 lead, but Kreighton Kanitz and Mason Miller would find themselves in foul trouble with two fouls after the first eight-minutes. Head Coach Kurt Kinnamon reflected on that stretch after the game, saying, “To play without Mason, almost the majority of the first half, or at least the second quarter, I thought we did a really good job. 

Gabe Pyle stepped in as the spark off of the bench, and was the leading scorer with 16 points on the night, 13 points coming in the first half, and with the offense, came the defense. McPherson would hold the Indians to just 4 points in the second quarter, as Pyle used his lanky frame to come up with two blocks while collecting three steals in the game, and the Pups would go into the half leading 28-13.

“I thought our bench played really well in the first half, maybe not from a scoring standpoint, but I thought they played really well.” said Kinnamon, who credited Hayden Hoxie for coming up with a steal that he recognized from the scouting report, and said, “It’s good to see that those guys pay attention to what a group of guys put in a lot of time in to prepare for them.”

Kinnamon also mentioned the defensive effort from Kreighton Kanitz, and his ability to Andale standout, Wyatt Spexarth, as Kanitz held Spexarth to just 2/9 from the field, but in a low scoring third quarter, Andale would use a pair of 5-0 runs to get back within 33-28 heading into the final period.

With momentum shifting, Coach Kinnamon went to a set play, to get Cory Muehler a three-point opportunity to open the fourth quarter, but he was fouled on the shot, and converted all three free-throws. On the ensuing Andale possession, the Pups were able to come with a steal, where Kyden Thompson was able to finish through contact for the three-point play, giving the Pups the double digit lead they needed to reach the state tournament for the eighth time, in the last nine seasons, winning 49-37.

Following the game, Kinnamon explained how special it is to bring his teams to the state tournament, discussing the feeling that he recalled winning a state championship 41 years ago. “I remember that night as if it was yesterday, and my goal every year is to have our kids experience that relation of forming something with friends, and kids you’ve played with your whole life.” he added, “There’s nothing like that sense of accomplishment.”

He concluded by saying, “Good crowd tonight, fun atmosphere and certainly that helped us, now let’s get the girls through tomorrow.”

Notable stats:
O. Pyle 7 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl
C. Muehler 8 pts, 3 ast, 3 stl, 1 reb
K. Thompson 10 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl,
Kr. Kanitz 6 pts, 3 reb, 1 blk, 1 stl
M. Miller 2 pts, 2 blk, 2 reb
H. Hoxie 2 reb, 1 stl
G. Pyle 16 pts, 3 stl, 2 blk, 2 ast
G. Wedel 2 reb, 1 blk