The worst may finally be over.

Led by Ben Pyle’s 21 points, the McPherson High School basketball team improved to 5-3 on the season with a 62-52 win over Ark Valley Chisholm Trail Division III rival Circle Friday night in the Roundhouse.

The Bullpups led by as many as 19 before slowing down a step in the second half, and settling for a 10 point win.

It was a rough night shooting the long ball for both teams, as the Bullpups and Thunderbirds combined to shoot 4 of 31 from beyond the arc.

What the Bullpups lacked in perimeter shooting, they made up for by pounding the ball inside. Over half the points scored by McPherson came inside the paint, which resulted in 29 free throw attempts. The Bullpups only made 16 of those, as connecting on shots was a struggle from nearly every part of the floor.

“I thought defensively, for the most part, we were really good tonight,” head coach Kurt Kinnamon said. “We’re not where we need to be yet and we’ll get better.”

The Bullpups jumped out to a 20-12 lead after the first quarter, and led 38-22 at halftime.

The Bullpups had their largest lead midway through the third quarter and coasted the rest of the way.

Circle actually held a slight 30-24 advantage in the second half, but the game was decided by halftime.

Pyle filled out the stat sheet with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists. Mason Alexander was the other Bullpup in double-figures with 16 points.

Jake Alexander scored 9 points, while five other Bullpups combined to score the remaining 16 points.

Jake Alexander was also the primary defender on Circle’s Cal Hartley, who scored 14 points — seven less than his season average.

The Bullpups will look to stay unbeaten in the AVCTL DIII on Tuesday, when they travel to Augusta (4-2). The Bullpups are now 4-0 in league play.

Gabe Hoover’s 22 points led the junior varsity team to a 64-47 win, while Cooper Courtney scored 24 points as the freshman team held on for a 60-52 win.

Contact Gallagher Martin by email at gmartin@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel.