HUTCHINSON—For the first time during the 2018-19 season the McPherson Middle School seventh and eighth grade boys basketball teams finished a day of competition without a victory as the seventh grade boys lost their first game of the 2018-19 season on Thursday in Hutchinson.

While the seventh-grade Junior Pups lost in double overtime, 60-54, the eighth-grade teams both took decisive loses.

7th grade boys no longer unbeaten

It was a tough day for the seventh-grade boys ‘A’ basketball team as they pushed Hutchinson past regulation play and through two overtimes before losing 60-54, their first defeat of the 2018-19 season for the Junior Pups who now stand 8-1 on the year.

“It’s tough to beat a good team three times and this game was no different,” noted seventh-grade Head Coach Eric Burghart. “I thought we were much more prepared offensively to handle their zone and did a good job of being creative and opening up looks for our teammates, but I didn’t have us ready to go defensively. Our help side defense was in a word, abysmal. I didn’t get the guys adjusted early enough and we went into halftime down by five. I was so proud of this team’s heart, grit and ability to fight through adversity when the calls didn’t seem to be going our way. My practice philosophy is to let the guys play through some contact as I believe it builds tougher ball handlers, but we certainly weren’t ready for a tightly called game from the zebras tonight which meant we couldn’t keep some of our stronger players on the floor.”

Three Junior Pups led the offense by scoring in double digits with Owen Pyle leading the way by dropping down 17 points, while Alex Robertson and Kreighton Kanitz each hit for 10. Five other players helped put points in the scorebook.

Talking individual play, Coach Burghart concluded is game reflections by saying, “Kreighton (Kanitz) did a fantastic job of keeping our head above water in the second and third quarters with some points, tipped balls and rebounds. Alex (Robertson) hit a huge three-pointer to put us up in the first overtime and Owen (Pyle) hit what may have been the most ice cold shot I’ve seen a seventh-grade player make in the waning seconds of the first overtime to send us into the second overtime. We needed a game like that to show us that we still have plenty to work on but also that the sun will still rise in the morning. How they react at Friday’s practice will build and show the most character.”

The seventh-grade Junior Pups ‘B’ team played but no final score was recorded. Individually the ‘B’ team was led by Teegan Haines with five points while Cale Dahlstrom scored four.

Next up for the seventh-grade boys basketball teams will be a trip to Salina Lakewood on Monday.

8th Grade Boys Drop Two at Hutchinson

It was a rough Thursday for the McPherson Middle School eighth-grade ‘A’ and ‘B’ boys basketball teams as they both took losses on the road in Hutchinson with the ‘A’ team losing 62-49 while the ‘B’ took a thumping by 30, 50-20.

“It was tough to swallow in going 0-2 on the night,” noted eighth grade Head Coach Tyler Brown. “I felt like leading up to tonight’s games we were well prepared but we just struggled to get stops tonight. We gave up 50 points in the ‘B’ game and in the ‘A’ game we gave up 62.”

The ‘A’ team dropped to 7-2 for the season with their 13-point, 62-49 loss

Hunter Alvord led the ‘A’ team in scoring with 22 while Sam Becker and Mason Miller each just missed double digits with nine each. Others scoring were Dawson Feil with five and two each for Hadlee Backhus and Dawson Gottwald.

“It really stung with the ‘A’ guys because no team all year has even put up 40 points on us. We have been outstanding. I will say that Hutchinson shot lights out, but we still didn’t do a very good job of making them uncomfortable in their offense. Hutchinson also did an excellent job of making us play an extremely fast paced game.”

In the ‘B’ game, it wasn’t even close as Hutchinson drilled the Junior Pups by 30 in their 50-20 victory. The loss drops the ‘B’ team to 3-4 for the season.

Only five Junior Pups were able to put points on the scoreboard for the ‘B’ team, led by Chase Shetler with eight. Also scoring were Layne Graves with five, Dawson Gottwald had four, Joe Brawner contributed two and Zane Morris hit for one free throw.

“The ‘B’ team will continue to struggle until they can figure out their playbook,” added Coach Brown as he concluded his post-game reflections. “There is just way too many of them that still struggle just to run our plays in game situations and we’ve run those every day in practice since the end of October. We just struggle to run things correctly during a game.”

After a couple of days of practice, the eighth-grade boys will return to the hardwood on Monday, Jan.14, in Salina where they will battle Salina Lakewood.

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