One only needed to look as far as McPherson High boys coach Kurt Kinnamon to understand how much Thursday night’s 59-55 sub-state semifinal loss to Abilene stunned the Bullpups.
The usually fiery head coach was subdued as he spoke to the press after the loss.
“Maybe we should have done something differently defensively,” Kinnamon said. “But you have to give (Abilene) a lot of credit. That’s a good team. How in the world they loose four games is beyond me.”
McPherson blitzed the Cowboys early in the first quarter, succeeding in keeping the ball out of the hands of leading scorer Andy Wilson and rattling off a 13-0 run that gave them a 15-3 lead at the buzzer.
The Bullpup defense kept up the pressure in the second frame, preventing Abilene from scoring in over 10 minutes of game time. Wilson, however, refused to be denied.
He broke the scoring drought with a laser-guided three pointer at the 4:42 mark of the second that spurred an 18-2 Cowboy run, leaving the game tied at 21-21 with just under a minute left in the half.
Ryan Horton would knock down a free throw that gave the Pups a 22-21 lead at the intermission.
McPherson extended that lead to as much as nine in the third quarter, thanks, in part, to a pair of Kyler Kinnamon three pointers, but Wilson would again power Abilene through a 10-1 run. Once more, the game became tied at the end of the period, 36-36.
Compounding the issue were the Bullpups’ foul troubles, as Marcus Houghton, Ryan Horton and Kinnamon were each whistled for their fourth fouls as the fourth period got underway.
“Obviously, that hurt us,” Kurt Kinnamon said. “But I thought we weathered it very well.”
Abilene (17-4) pulled ahead slightly thanks to foul shooting, but Ryan Horton knocked down a three pointer that tied the game back up at 41-41 with 5:35 left.
Unfortunately, Horton would foul out barely a minute later, followed by Houghton with inside of a minute left on the clock.
Though they fought until the final buzzer, the Bullpups didn’t have another comeback in them.
Wilson just dominated the game, scoring 29 of Abilene’s 59 points. Jacob Harms, a 6-8 senior, added 16.
Kyler Kinnamon had 14 points to lead McPherson, while Keaton Sorenson added 13. Dylan Stos and Peter Horton each added nine.
Thursday marked the final bow for Sorenson, Houghton and Alex Bahr, as the trio will graduate in May.
“Just fantastic young men, all three of them,” Kurt Kinnamon said of the senior class. “Awesome in the classroom, awesome leadership. They’re first-class kids. I’m proud of them.”
Page 2 of 2 - McPherson ends its season at 18-3.
Abilene will play Hesston in the finals Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at Abilene. The Swathers advanced by virtue of a 61-51 win over Concordia.
Contact Chris Swick by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter, @SwickSentinel.