• MHS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE LOADED — Judging from the KBCA preseason rankings, McPherson High’s basketball teams will be tiptoeing through landmines.
Just look at the second week of the season. MHS will be home next Tuesday to entertain Derby, whose girls are ranked No. 2 in Class 6A and the boys are No. 4.
Then a week from Friday, both McPherson teams travel to the Kansas City area to take on Bishop Miege, with both Stag teams starting the year at No. 1 in Class 4A Division I and both are just ahead of the Bullpups.
In league play, the Bullpup boys have home-and-home games with Buhler and Augusta, which are ranked Nos. 6 and 9, respectively, in Class 4A Division I. For the girls, the lone league toughie would appear to be Circle, which is No. 4 in 4A Division I.
The MHS girls also have a road game with 5A’s No. 4 team (Newton), while the Bullpup boys play at Abilene on the Tuesday after the Miege game and the Cowboys are No. 8 in Class 4A Division I. Newton's boys are not ranked, but have one of the state's best players in Ty Berry, who is capable of going for 40.
Both midseason tournaments are loaded as well.
The Derby boys make a return trip to the Roundhouse for the McPherson Invitational and another top team is Lawrence Free State, which is ranked No. 2 in 6A. Shawnee Mission East is No. 7 in 6A and Bishop Carroll is No. 9 in 5A. Add in 6A schools Blue Valley West, Junction City and Wichita North and every game should be competitive.
The girls’ tournament will feature two teams ranked in Class 6A, including the preseason favorite to win it all, Manhattan. Olathe South is No. 10 and throw in Hays, which is No. 9 in 4A Division I, and it’s a star-studded field. There’s a strong 6A influence with Shawnee Mission Northwest, Shawnee Mission South and Wichita Northwest, along with 4A Division I Ulysses, whose volleyball team made the Final Four.
And we can’t forget a road trip to Andale, which is always a tough place to play, as well as home games with Great Bend and Andover.
The Bullpups schedule this way for a reason. They want to play anyone, anywhere, anytime as nothing good comes from running-clock victories. This will only help the teams when sub-state play rolls around and if form holds true, MHS will again be paired with Buhler, Hays and Ulysses, though we won't know that until later in the season.
• SWIMMERS, WRESTLERS OPEN THURSDAY — McPherson High's boys swimming and wrestling teams start their seasons Thursday.
The wrestling team is at Rose Hill and if past history is an indicator, the Bullpups should be successful. The swimmers are at Newton and will be challenged by a tough field.
Both teams have their biggest squads that I can ever remember, especially the wrestling team, whose numbers are swelled by having 18 girls out. The Bullpups will be hosting a girls tournament on Saturday and it is hoped there's a big turnout from the other schools that have been invited.