The McPherson High boys emphatically put an exclamation point on their claim for the AVCTL Division III title Friday night, blasting division rival Buhler 80-39.
The Bullpups were shooting very close to lights out in the win, including making 71 percent of their field goals in the second half.
Looking past the offensive effort, though, head coach Kurt Kinnamon was also pleased with the defensive effort of MHS, noting, in particular, they forced 23 Buhler turnovers to the Bullpups’ five.
“What (Buhler head coach Denny) Wahlgren’s teams do so well is they run their offense,” Kinnamon said. “Our kids did such good a job of denying them the wing. They simply weren’t able to run what they wanted to run.”
That defensive dominance was obvious from the opening moments of the first quarter. Buhler (4-14, 3-5 AVCTL Div. III) got on the board first, but the Bullpups responded with a 7-0 run, including a quick, back-to-back buckets from senior Marcus Houghton and junior Peter Horton off Crusader turnovers.
Buhler battled some in the latter stages of the first and into the second quarters, trying to keep the 18-10 first quarter deficit from growing any further, but that only seemed to inspire McPherson senior Keaton Sorenson, who began crashing his way to the hoop with vigor, sparking a 17-2 run to take a 37-22 lead into the locker room at half.
The defense clamped down even harder in the third, holding the Crusaders to only five points in the quarter. Offensively, MHS remained in stride with an 11-2 run that crushed the spirits of the Buhler bench. McPherson pushed their lead to 30 and then 40 in a 26-12 fourth quarter.
The Pups finished shooting 30-of-46 from the field, hitting 7-of-9 from three point range. MHS also went 72 percent from the foul line, netting 13-for-18. Buhler was 14-of-42 from the floor and 4-of-10 from distance. They hit 100 percent of their foul shots, going 7-for-7.
Rebounding was fairly even for the two teams, with Buhler having just a slight 25-23 advantage.
Sorenson led all scorers with 20 points and just missed a double-double with eight boards. Peter Horton had 19, followed by Kyler Kinnamon’s 14 and Houghton’s 11.
Jace Williams picked up a double-double for Buhler with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Ryan Norquist added 11 points for the Crusaders.
McPherson has the potential to face Buhler for a third time this season a week from Monday, as they both are in the Abilene sub-state field.
“I’m sure they’ll come up with a different game plan,” Kurt Kinnamon said. “I thought tonight we showed, when they tried to run all their scramble traps, we’re a pretty hard team to trap.”
Page 2 of 2 - With the win, McPherson moves to 16-2 on the year, 8-0 in Div. III. Even if they drop their final two games, they will claim the AVCTL Div. III title, as El Dorado is 5-3 and Mulvane is 4-4 in league play.
The MHS JV was also successful against Buhler, winning 55-46. Drew Pyle led the way with 20 points, while Avery Gabel had 14.
The freshmen picked up a win against Buhler, also, winning 42-30. Brady Scheidegger led the scoring with 17 points. The Pups were also 65-51 winners Thursday night against Wichita Collegiate in the Hutchinson Freshmen Tournament. Pyle had 17 points in the win, while Marcus McDaniel had 14 points and Gabel added 13.
They will face host Hutchinson in the finals Monday night at 7:30 p.m.
Rose Hill (6-13, 1-7) will be the opponent for Senior Night Tuesday at the Roundhouse. The Pups will recognize seniors Sorenson, Houghton and Alex Bahr. Tip off is scheduled for approximately 7:30 p.m.
Buhler (39) — Felty 1-6 2-2 5; Henricks 2-5 0-0 4; Nortquist 4-10 3-5 11; Williams 4-9 3-3 11; Webster 1-2 0-0 2; Maladonado 1-10-0 2; Kuhn 1-2 0-0 2; Davis 0-1 2-2 2.
McPherson (80) — Houghton 5-7 1-2 11; Sorenson 8-14 4-5 20; Kinnamon 4-6 3-3 14; Horton, R. 1-2 1-2 4; Horton, P. 8-11 0-0 19; Bahr 2-2 1-2 5; Pyle 1-1 0-0 2; Wine 0-0 1-2 1; Nutter 1-1 2-2 4.
MHS JV (55) — Stos 2; Pyle 20; McDaniel 2; Wine 5; Nutter 9; Gabel 14; Sewell 3.
MHS freshmen vs. Wichita Collegiate (65) — Pyle 17; Reed 4; McDaniel 14; Loecker 5; Scheidegger 6; Wine 6; Gabel 13.
MHS freshmen vs. Buhler (42) — Reed 7; Smith 2; Stiebens 2; McDaniel 6; Loecker 4; Scheidegger 17; Martin-Chavez 4.