Bullpups have tough foe in 1st round Thursday

By Steve Sell
January 16, 2019

There are no gimme games on Thursday in the first round of the 55th annual McPherson Invitational.

Nobody knows that better than McPherson High coach Kurt Kinnamon. Thursday’s 8:15 Bullpups opener against Blue Valley West will be against a team that’s as good as any they have faced this year.

“Blue Valley West will be well coached and prepared,” said Kinnamon, whose team has won the last four Invitational titles and 24 in the 54 previous years of the event. “This is a very good perimeter shooting team that causes problems with their ability to space the floor.”

The Bullpups have climbed to the tourney’s No. 3 seed after early in the season it appeared they were going to be near the bottom. MHS started the year 0-3, but since has reeled off six wins in a row, most of them games that weren’t decided until near the end.

However, they returned to their past blowout ways in their most recent game, a 64-38 rout of El Dorado where it all came together.

“We are playing some of our best basketball and look forward to taking on a high-level opponent,” Kinnamon said.

Blue Valley West, under second-year coach Ryan Hintz and assisted by former Canton-Galva and Newton coach Don Cameron, will be playing four games in five days. It played another Invitational team, Free State, on Tuesday and lost a 51-36 decision. The Jaguars come in 4-5 and have scored more than 52 points in a game only twice as they play at a methodical pace.

“O’mar Stanley at 6-8 is a good inside player that we will have to keep off the offensive glass,” Kinnamon said. “Spencer Bain is their best player and the one they look to go to for a basket.”

Bain, a 6-2 guard, scored 8 points in the loss to the Firebirds. Stanley was held to 4 points and as a team the Jags were just 11 of 42 from the field.

If the Bullpups win, they would play the late game on Friday against the winner of tourney newcomer Shawnee Heights (5-2) and Wichita West (2-6), who play at 6:30 Thursday.

Free State, the No. 1 seed at 6-1, takes on one-win Mill Valley at 4:45, which follows the 3:00 kickoff game pitting Shawnee Mission East (5-4) and Manhattan (5-5), which has a chance to be the most spirited game of the day.

“I think there are probably six teams that have the ability to win the tournament,” Kinnamon said. “All of the teams coming in have played tough schedules. I think all of the first-round matchups will be highly competitive.”

Concerns about the weather have been alleviated somewhat, according to MHS Athletic Director Shane Backhus. He announced that all teams will be staying in McPherson on Friday and arrangements are being made to have game officials working Saturday to stay on Friday if necessary. There is a chance, however, of Saturday’s game times being adjusted, but it is hoped that won’t be the case. The bigger threat appears just to be the bitter cold, and not so much about ice and snow.

Burrton Invites moves final day to Friday

By Steve Sell
January 16, 2019

BURRTON — The Burrton Invitational Boys Basketball Tournament, which includes area schools Inman and Little River, will now play its final round of games on Friday instead of Saturday due to impending bad weather.

Both teams are playing in the semifinals Thursday, Inman against Central Christian at 6:00 and Little River against Berean at 7:30.

The third-place game is now at 4:00 on Friday and the championship game is at 5:30.

C-G Invite times moved up for Friday

By Steve Sell
January 16, 2019

CANTON — Friday’s games in the final day of the Canton-Galva Invitational Boys Basketball Tournament have been moved up in anticipation of bad weather moving in late Friday.

The seventh-place game is now at noon, the fifth-place game is at 1:30, the third-place game is at 3:00 and the championship game is set for 4:30.

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