The McPherson High School boys basketball team will have to deal with some challenges as a 5A team. That includes the life after Ben Pyle, who left McPherson as the all-time leading scorer and rebound leader, and is now at Western Illinois. Goods news for head coach Kurt Kinnamon is that Jake Alexander is back, and he's going to be relied upon this season.

Alexander averaged 14.0 points per game last season and is one of the top high school players to watch in the state. What's also helpful for Kinnamon is that he will have some of the football players contributing on the court. Cody Stufflebean, after a strong season on the gridiron, could be the player to watch as well in his junior campaign. Kinnamon also said that one of the Bullpups' biggest strength is their versatility. Most likely he's going to rotate positions for each player.

"There are several guys that are interchangeable and can play a variety of positions," Kinnamon said.

Five consecutive years, the Bullpups reached to the state championship while as a 4A team, but has come up short for three-years straight. Now a Class 5A team, more challenges will be coming McPherson's way, starting with their first two games against Andover and Andover Central. Then Derby High School will be coming to the Roundhouse before the start of their league-game, where they will be at Buhler High School.

McPherson must get over the hump of continuing to finishing second in state. Despite little starting experience from the roster, Alexander will have to carry the Bullpups to their sixth straight state championship.

Bullpup Boys Basketball Schedule 2018/19

11/30 at Andover

12/4 vs. Andover Central

12/7 at Derby

12/11 at Buhler

12/14 vs. Winfield

12/20 at Dodge City

1/4 vs.Circle

1/8 vs. Augusta

1/11 vs. El Dorado

1/17-19 McPherson Invitational

1/29 vs.Wichita Collegiate

2/1 at Andale

2/5 at El Dorado

2/8 at Winfield

2/12 vs. Buhler

2/15 at Circle

2/16 at Free State

2/19 vs.Augusta

Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at pholland@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports