By Grant Barrett, Ad Astra Radio
MCPHERSON, Kan. – The McPherson Bullpup Basketball teams completed the first phase against their AVCTL Div. III opponents on Friday, defeating the Mulvane Wildcats 60-30, in the girls game, and 71-48 in the boys contest.
It was a slower start to the first half than what McPherson Bullpup Girls Basketball Coach Chris Strathman admitted that he wanted, as the (7-1) Pups would take a 9-3 lead against the (4-5) Wildcats after back-to-back threes from Karter Alvord and Alexis Dukes.
Dukes returned to the starting lineup after being held to limited minutes since returning from a knee injury that held her out in the two games before the holiday break. “You never like to take a girls starting spot because of an injury,” said Coach Strathman, “We feel like she’s healthy enough, she’s ready to play more minutes, and that’s why she started tonight.”
Mulvane was patient offensively, exhausting the Bullpup defense for close to a minute at a time before Teagan Garrison would eventually find a crease, as the Wildcat junior led all scorers in the first half with 10 points, but it was the Pups leading 25-18, at the break.
“We were not very sharp in the first half, for sure.” said Strathman, who talked about some of the mismatches that he wished his team would’ve taken advantage he said, “We were not shooting the ball great, and we weren’t getting enough paint and post touches to really make them pay inside.”
The Bullpups would separate themselves from the Wildcats in the third quarter when they opened with an 11-0 run as Chloe Clevenger and Madi Moors would cause havoc in the backcourt, which eventually led to transition baskets for Karter Alvord and Jordan Sears on the other end.
Clevenger and Moors finished with 5 steals each, and Alvord led the Bullpup Girls with 17 points and 5 assists. Dukes had 8 points going 3/3 from the field and was later named Winter Homecoming Queen alongside Cooper Bruce as Homecoming King. Jordan Sears finished two rebounds shy of a double-double and was the second-leading scorer behind Alvord with 10.
The Bullpup Girls now 8-1, will prepare for a tough battle on Tuesday, as they battle (No. 6) Andale who was undefeated, before falling in Wellington on Friday.
K. Alvord 17 pts, 5 ast, 3 reb
J. Sears 10 pts, 8 reb, 3 ast
C. Clevenger 8 pts, 5 stl 2 reb
A. Dukes 8 pts, 3 reb
M. Moors 6 pts, 5 stl, 4 ast
J. McLeod 4 pts, 3 reb
R. Eilrich 3 pts
Al. Romero 2 pts
Av. Romero 2 pts
The (7-1) MHS Boys would open the game on a 7-2 run against (3-5) Mulvane, but Head Coach Kurt Kinnamon said, “They (Mulvane) kind of set the tone on the first play of the game when they were on the floor and we weren’t.” He talked about the decision of taking two starters out early, as sophomores Gabe Pyle and Hayden Hoxie entered the game.
The Pups would have a 17-7 lead after a quarter. Kyden Thompson had 8 points, and three steals, as the Pups forced 8 Wildcat turnovers in the opening period.
The second quarter was played evenly, partly due to three Bullpups in foul trouble, as Mulvane’s Kaiden Abasolo would use his size to get into the paint, which allowed Manny Myers to knock down two shots from deep, but the Pups would go into the half leading 33-23.
It was a team effort to pull away from the Wildcats, as Mulvane would creep within 41-34 before the Pups would close the third quarter on a 12-1 run. “We had a really good stretch there in the second half where we did throw the ball inside.” said Coach Kinnamon, who talked about the rare height advantage that Mason Miller had inside on Friday, as he finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds.
The Bullpups had 24 assists in the 71-48 win, Kinnamon was proud of how hard his guys fought, but he still looks to clean up the little things; catching the ball, and finishing shots around the rim. He said, “I feel better about tonight than I did on Tuesday night, because we competed better I thought.” Kinnamon concluded by talking about the schedule ahead, and what he expects from some of the teams in the tournament, but ultimately, he concluded by saying, “We cannot overlook Wichita East.”
The McPherson Boys now 8-1, will prepare for the 59th Annual McPherson Invitational Tournament next Thursday, as they’ll enter the top seed in the tournament. They will take on the 8 seed in the tournament, Wichita East. That game is scheduled to begin at approximately 8:15 on Thursday, January 19th.
K. Thompson 20pts, 9 ast, 4 stl
M. Miller 13 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast, 3 blk
G. Pyle 12 pts, 5 reb, 2 ast
C. Muehler 8 pts, 6 reb, 4 stl, 3 ast
Kr. Kanitz 6 pts, 6 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl
O. Pyle 5 pts 3 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl
H. Boese 5 pts, 2 reb, 1 blk
G. Wedel 2 pts, 2 ast, 1 reb
Photos by Kendall Shaw