A Max Alexander-led Buhler squad drew a large audience at the McPherson Roundhouse Tuesday night. The Bullpups did not disappoint, rebounding from Friday’s loss to Derby with a 64-47 win.
Senior Cody Stufflebean and sophomore Seth Madron proved they can be a formidable duo against any team on the schedule. Stufflebean muscled his way to 16 points on 7 of 11 shooting while Madron used his athleticism to 20 points on 8 of 12 shooting.
And while Alexander received his share of offensive success (18 points, 7 of 15 from the field), the Bullpups ran away with the game early in the second quarter and never looked back behind a rowdy student section and a nearly sold-out crowd.
“I told them this would probably be as good of an atmosphere as you’ll play in until the final of our tournament,” McPherson head coach Kurt Kinnamon said. “It was a fantastic crowd and a lot of fun.”
Buhler’s Drake Dick gave the Crusaders an early 5-2 lead, but McPherson’s Hayes Schmid fired back with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Led by eight first-quarter points from Stufflebean, McPherson took a 17-11 lead into the second quarter.
Schmid also hit an off-balanced shot at the buzzer to aid the lead.
McPherson outscored Buhler 18-9 in the second quarter. Madron and Cooper Courtney hit back-to-back 3s, then Madron scored six straight points as the Bullpups went into halftime up 35-20.
The Bullpups flirted with a 20-point lead for most of the second half. Buhler outscored McPherson by five in the final quarter to make it a 13-point final.
Outside of sheer dominance from Stufflebean and Madron, starters Schmid, Courtney, and Jayton Alexander stepped up with huge minutes, as did reserves Eli Pyle and Sam Pyle. Jayton Alexander and Stufflebean played over 29 minutes while Madron led the way at 30:04 out of a possible 32 minutes.
Despite the extended minutes, the Bullpups played with high intensity the entire night.
“If there was a loose ball on the floor, I thought we got them,” Kinnamon said. “That says a lot about their determination and effort.”
McPherson, now 2-2 overall, will look to improve to 2-0 in AVCTL Division III on Friday at Winfield.
“Tonight was an important game because it was the first game of league play, and you want to get off to a good start,” Kinnamon said. “Those guys are feeling pretty good about themselves right now.”