The McPherson High School boys basketball team has been held under 55 points just once this season.
And when the defense plays as well as it did Tuesday night against previously undefeated Augusta, the Bullpups are nearly impossible to beat.
McPherson turned a competitive game in the first half into a blowout win, holding sixth-ranked Augusta to just eight points in the second half en route to a 63-32 win. It was a one possession game midway through the second quarter, but McPherson’s shutdown defense forced a running clock in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we did a great job defensively,” head coach Kurt Kinnamon said. “The spurt that we had, what led to that, were defensive plays. When you look at the stat sheet, there’s not a lot to be unhappy about.”
Augusta led 9-5 with 2:40 left in the first quarter, but the Bullpups answered with a 12-0 run to end the quarter. With just over four minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Bullpups led 23-20.
Then the 3-ball began to fall.
Ben Pyle knocked down a triple, followed by a Jake Alexander 3-pointer, followed by a 3 from Jayse Alexander. Pyle capped off a tremendous run with a 3-point play which gave the Bullpups a 15 point lead.
The Bullpups led 41-24 at halftime.
McPherson outscored Augusta 17-6 in the third quarter and 5-2 in the fourth. Jake Alexander had a season high 22 points on 9 of 12 shooting. Alexander was also the primary defender on Augsta’s Chance Whitehead, who was held scoreless in the game.
Pyle was just as electric with 22 points on 8 of 12 shooting.
For the Orioles, their perfect season comes to an end after eight games. Augusta head coach Jake Sims knows his team has another step to take before they are ready to compete with the likes of McPherson.
“The only way to handle this game is to get better from it,” Sims said. “There were some things we did well early on, but if we want to take that next step as a team, there’s a lot of things that we need to tighten up.”
One undefeated team down, one more to go for McPherson, who travels to Andale (8-0) on Friday.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” Kinnamon said. “This Augusta team was a fairly physical team, but when you see these Andale guys, there’s no comparison. They are big, long, and strong.”
Game time in Andale is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.