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Slow Start Doesn’t Stop McPherson Boys on Senior Night Against Augusta

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By Grant Barrett, Ad Astra Radio

 

McPHERSON, Kan. – It was Senior Night at McPherson High School on Tuesday, where three lady, along with Mason Miller from the boys basketball team were honored in between games, along with seniors from other MHS Activities, as the Pups played host to the Augusta Orioles for the final regular season game in the Roundhouse.

McPherson Boys 59 Augusta 41

It was not the start that the Bullpup Boys wanted, as the Orioles came in with a game plan to attack the Pups off the dribble, and finding a few opportunities at the free throw line after finishing through contact. The Orioles would lead 13-4 before Cory Muehler and Kreighton Kanitz would alternate baskets with Augusta, as McPherson would trail 15-8 after the first quarter. 

“Lousy start,” said Head Coach Kurt Kinnamon, who went back and forth with his decision making in the first quarter, thinking, ‘Well, do I call a timeout here, or do I let them try and figure it out?’

Trailing 20-13 in the second quarter, Mason Miller would come up with a critical block that crashed off of the backboard, and quickly in transition, Kyden Thompson was able to finish on the other end to get the Pups within five, and more importantly the momentum, as the Pups would go into the locker room trailing 24-21 at the half.

Following the game Mason Miller was given the opportunity to speak with the media and he said, “Augusta, they’re a pretty solid team coming into this, and we didn’t start as good as we thought we would, but halftime, we came out and played as hard as we could.”

Kinnamon also reflected on what he said to the team at halftime, “I thought we needed to make some defensive stops, I thought we needed to do a better job of getting Mason the ball inside.”

In the third quarter, the Bullpups would get the ball inside, and ramp up the defensive intensity. Miller would get the Pups within one, before Cory Muehler gave the Pups their first lead of the game. The teams would alternate baskets before seven straight points came from Owen Pyle, giving the Bullpups a 36-30 lead, then it was Kanitz’s turn, knocking down a three-pointer and finishing on a backdoor cut just before time expired, as the Pups would go into the fourth leading 41-35.

McPherson was fueled by an 8-0 run to begin the fourth quarter, and which once was a 31-30 game, quickly became a 52-37 game as four Bullpups would finish in double figures in the 59-41 win. 

When looking ahead Kinnamon said, “It’s bittersweet, at least Mason knows we get to be in here two more times, but I think if you ask everybody on our team, this season has just flown, it seems like we were just looking forward to starting, and now coming down to the end.”

Throughout the season, Miller has been undersized in a majority of his matchups, but his ability to finish with both hands is what separates him from others his size. Miller explained that he is partially ambidextrous, but said, “It does come from practice everyday, we’re on opposite sides from the guards, and they’ve got us working on finishing either way, finishing through contact, on balance, stuff like that.”

When reflecting on Mason’s career, Coach Kinnamon said, “It’s just been tremendous, he got thrown in a pretty tough spot as a sophomore where he had to play our big, and he wasn’t that big.” 

Kinnamon said, “He has as good of post moves as anybody I can remember in the recent past. Now if he was six-seven, then we’d really have something there, but for what he does with his size is just tremendous.”

Coach Kinnamon wrapped up his thoughts by saying, “The one thing that I always know is that I’m going to have great effort out of him, without question there is never ever going to be a lack of effort on Mason Miller’s part and that carries over to everybody, and it’s hard sometimes when you’re the lone senior.” Kinnamon concluded by saying, “I’m proud of him, he’s had a great career, and I hope that his career lasts seven more games, that’d be an awesome way for him to end.”

On Thursday, the Bullpups will conclude the regular season, as they’ll travel to Mulvane to face the Wildcats, before hosting sub-state next week.

Notable Stats
O. Pyle 12 pts, 1 reb
C. Muehler 10 pts 6 stl, 3 reb
K. Thompson 6 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast, 1 stl
Kr. Kanitz 11 pts, 2 reb, 2 stl
M. Miller 13 pts, 7 reb, 3 ast, 3 blk, 2 stl
G. Pyle 7 pts, 5 reb, 3 stl

 

Photos By Kendall Shaw

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