It’s hard to picture a more exciting way to begin 2018 for McPherson High School basketball.

Tuesday night, the Bullpups will host rival Buhler for the first time this season. While the rivalry itself has been consistently lopsided in favor of McPherson, that doesn’t stop fans on both sides from getting fired up.

“The McPherson vs. Buhler rivalry is one of the best rivalries in the state, so the atmosphere should be electric in the Roundhouse,” McPherson boys head coach Kurt Kinnamon said. “I think that both communities circle this game as an important one on their calendars.”

The boys game is expected to be the more competitive of the two. Buhler enters the contest with a 3-2 record, having played a formidable schedule so far.

The Crusaders started the season 3-0 with notable wins over Goddard and Salina South, but have since lost back to back games to Augusta and Newton.

Buhler’s 6-8 post Grant Owens will be a handful for the Bullpups inside, while Kinnamon says the Crusaders shoot the ball well and have plenty of athleticism.

“[Buhler is] running a bunch of new looks that we will have to adjust to,” Kinnamon said. “Buhler is well coached and we know that they are always going to play hard.”

The McPherson High girls will be looking to keep Buhler winless on the season. While on paper McPherson High should cruise to a victory, head coach Chris Strathman knows his team will have to play hard to get the win.

“Buhler is a team our girls should always be excited to play,” Strathman said. “Our biggest advantage over Buhler is simply experience and familiarity with our system. They are playing several young girls and are also getting comfortable with a new system, as they had a coaching change this season.”

After facing Buhler, the McPherson girls will face fourth-ranked Circle followed by ninth-ranked Augusta.

“The girls are excited to hit the floor again, as this begins a very important three-game stretch for us in league play,” Strathman said.

The girls will kick things off at 6 p.m. followed by the boys at 7:30 p.m.

Contact Gallagher Martin by email at and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel