Just like last week's win over Winfield High School, the McPherson High School boys basketball team weren't at their best in the first three quarters, but made it count in the fourth quarter. In result, the Bullpups defeated their league rival Buhler High School, 53-34, at home on Tuesday night.

It was a low-scoring first quarter for both teams. Both have been exchanging points, but McPherson had a slight edge as they led 6-5 to end the quarter.

Things started to turn up offensively in the second. The cousins of Max and Jake Alexander have connected with one another on different look passes. Jake Alexander scored nine points in the second quarter to give the Bullpups a 19-11 lead. With the help of Drake Dick, Buhler crawled right back with a 7-0 run to trail 19-17. The Crusaders were able to end the quarter only trailing 21-17.

Buhler took the lead in the third quarter with five straight points from Dick. The game tied at 22 apiece until Max Alexander hit a three-pointer to give McPherson a 27-24 lead. The Bullpups still had the upper hand on Buhler as they led 33-26 to end the third quarter.

The Bullpups had a strong fourth quarter as they outscored the Crusaders 20-8. Frustrations started rising for Buhler as they struggled to make their shots and were shut down by McPherson's defense.

"I thought defensively tonight we were really good," Bullpups' head coach Kurt Kinnamon said. "We did a good job of getting up on their shooters. They didn't have a bunch of open looks. And we made the effort to get there even when we got a little lost. We didn't stand there and watch them shoot it and then look at each other like 'what happened?"

Jake Alexander led the Bullpups with 22 points and eight rebounds. While Dick picked up 15 points for Buhler, being the only to reach double-digits for the Crusaders. The Bullpups also controlled the boards as they outrebounded the Crusaders 28-16.

"The rebound battle was big. We ended up winning that pretty handily. Jake getting eight rebounds was really good," Kinnamon said. "Usually we just depend on Cody (Stufflebean), so Jake did a good job of going to the glass."

Kinnamon would also credited his bench players of Seth Madron, Sam Pyle, and Cooper Courtney, for making key stops when being called in.

McPherson improved to 13-4 of the season. They will be back on the road on Friday and Saturday as they will take on Circle High School on Friday at 7:30 p.m, then will drive down to Lawrence to face 6A team Lawrence Free State High School.

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