WICHITA—It's plain and simple, the Bishop Carroll High School boys basketball team is just too good, and they proved it once more after beating McPherson High School in the Class 5A Sub-State finals, 62-49. McPherson's dramatic season has come to an end.
It wasn't that the Bullpups weren't playing terribly. Bishop Carroll was just one step ahead of them and never gave up a lead the entire game.
"I thought, honestly, this was as hard as we've played defensively in a while," Bullpups 'Head Coach Kurt Kinnamon said. "I really thought our guys tried hard. We're not blessed with overall quickness and to make up for that we just have to try really hard. I thought we tried really hard tonight. I told them I don't fault anything we did. We had a hard time making shots."
The Bullpups struggled against the Golden Eagles' ball movement on offense. Bishop was on the attack with a 9-2 lead. Carsen Pracht, who ended up finishing the game with 24 points, scored seven of those nine points early on in the first quarter. After a three-pointer by Kyler Hoppes and a floater by Max Alexander, the Bullpups were only down 9-7. Despite their struggles to contain the Golden Eagles' ball movement, the Bullpups was still down 15-11.
"They're so good at drawing help, and when you help and miss a rotation, and don't help the helper, it's extremely tough, especially when they're as good of passers as they are," Kinnamon said. "They are a very skilled passing team, and they're an extremely good shooting team, too."
What kept the offense going for the Bullpups was Cody Stufflebean, who led the Bullpups with 14 points, despite taking the abuse and double teams from the Golden Eagles' big men. The Eagles were still in control through the second quarter as they led 26-20 at halftime.
The Golden Eagles didn't slow down at all in the second half as they began the third quarter with a 5-0 run to start the third quarter. The Eagles continued to get in the face of the Bullpups that couldn't find their shooting rhythm the whole half. The Golden Eagles captured their largest lead at 33-22. Right when the Bullpups started to make a run, Pracht nailed a three-pointer to give them a 38-29 lead.
Bishop Carroll made two back-to-back three-pointers to give the Eagles a 10-point lead two minutes into the fourth quarter.
Frustrations were rising for the Bullpups as turnovers and not making open-look shots was the downfall for McPherson. Jake Alexander didn't turn on until late in the fourth quarter when he made seven baskets, which had him finishing the night with 11 points. Max Alexander fall short to double-figures as he scored nine points.
With the loss, snaps the streak of five-straight appearances in the state tournament. After an 0-3 start at the beginning of the season, the Bullpups finished the year at 15-6. Jake Alexander, Jace Kinnamon, and Kyler Hoppes have played their final game in a Bullpup uniform. Here is Coach Kinnamon's final reflection on this season.:
"It would have been easy at 0-3 to just say, 'you know let's write this one off,'" Kinnamon said. "They didn't. They committed, and they got better and continued to get better, and that's always, I guess, the judge of a basketball team. 'Are we better now than we were when we started? And I think that's an emphatic yes. We've have a lot of nice pieces coming back next year. It will take a little while for the sting to wear off, but obviously looking forward to next year."
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