SALINA — It was a record-breaking night for Ben Pyle as the McPherson High School boys basketball team routed Spring Hill High School 64-43 and will move on to the semifinals on Friday night.
Pyle finished the game with 26 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. He also broke former player Christian Ulsaker's record in both scoring, with 1,496 points, and rebounds at 584 in the third quarter.
"It's a huge honor, especially from a school that is full of traditions. There are so many good players that come through here, and it feels really good," Pyle said.
After the game, his teammates and coaches congratulated him after Bullpups' head coach Kurt Kinnamon made the announcement.
For Kinnamon, it was only a bonus, knowing that McPherson got the win to go along with it.
"That's a great accomplishment, but it will be very hollow if you finish this thing off," Kinnamon said.
Ulsaker, now an assistant coach for Hayden High School in Topeka, gave his word of encouragement via Twitter after hearing the big news.
"Records are meant to be broken! Congrats Ben, huge accomplishment. Still have so many milestones ahead of you! Now go win state," Ulsaker wrote on Twitter.
The Bullpups struggled with their shooting in the first half, going 0-for-5 in the 3-point range in the first quarter and 2-for-8 at halftime. Though Spring Hill tried to catch up offensively, the Bullpups still had a comfortable lead.
"We executed well and had opened shots. We just didn't make them," Kinnamon said.
Late in the third quarter, it was all McPherson as they outscored the Broncos 25-11.
Other than Pyle breaking the record, he and Jake Alexander went for a back-to-back dunk to help end the quarter. It was lights out in the fourth after Kinnamon put all his reserves in to end the game.
"At this point of time, you just worry about winning the game. It doesn't matter by 20, 30, or one. We just have to win the game. I thought we did a good job with that. Quite honestly, we weren't good enough tonight and they know that. But we are in the final four, and we have to stay hungry," Kinnamon said.
The Bullpups will play Arkansas City High School at 8:15 p.m. on March 9 at Tony's Pizza Event Center.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_