MHS boys crush Andover

By Steve Sell
December 19, 2017

McPherson High's boys basketball team didn't forget that sinking feeling from last year when it left the court at Andover with a stunning 51-48 loss.

The Bullpups almost never, ever lose to the same opponent two years in a row, as long as Miege is left out of the conversation.

Driven emotionally from the opening tip, the Bullpups played at a rarefied level here Tuesday night, dismantling the Trojans 69-34 to improve to 5-1 on the year, the only loss a 2-pointer to defending state champion and No. 1-ranked Miege on the road.

MHS blazed away for 18 of 31 from the field in the first half and ended the second period on a 12-2 rip as Cody Stufflebean's tip-in beat the halftime buzzer for a 42-15 lead. From there it was a matter of not becoming sloppy and staying focused on the defensive end.

"I thought tonight defensively we were the best we have been all year," said MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon, whose team held the normally high-scoring Trojans to half their season average. "We just did a really good job of keeping the ball in front of us, had good help defense, got hands on a lot of balls, so that's the thing I was most pleased with. Taking pride in your individual defense, I thought we did a good job with that."

As good as the offense was, shooting 53 percent for the game and committing only 9 turnovers, the Bullpup defense limited the Trojans to just 14 of 45 from the field for 31 percent, 2 of 13 from 3, where they came into the game having been highly effective.

MHS' Big 3 was tremendously balanced as cousins Mason and Jake Alexander scored 19 points apiece and Ben Pyle scored 18, as he also had 12 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists. Mason Alexander had 5 assists and 3 steals.

"We did shoot it well and that makes a big difference," Kinnamon said. "We did get some easy shots. We made some tougher shots, which we always do. This team probably makes more what I call marginal shots than any team I've had. They just make a lot of shots that are tougher shots, but they are excellent shooters. I thought we had a lot nice assists and shared the ball, which is good to see at Christmas time."

The MHS JVs sped to a 74-50 victory behind 17 points by Kyler Hoppes, 15 by Jace Kinnamon and 10 by Aren Trost.

In a spirited ninth-grade game, the Bullpups were behind 28-20 before catching fire, using a big fourth quarter to secure a 53-41 win. Jayton Alexander scored 20 points, including 8 of 8 at the foul line. Balance was a key as Eli Pyle tallied 11 points, and Brycen Labertew and Aaron Powell furnished 10 apiece.

MHS has a showdown in its 2018 debut when it hosts Buhler Jan. 2 in the game that will go a lot way toward determining the AVCTL Division III champion.

MHS (69) — Labertew 0-2, 0-0, 0; Mas. Alexander 8-15, 2-2, 19; Jk. Alexander 9-14, 0-0, 19; Diggs 1-2, 0-0, 2; B. Pyle 7-13, 1-1, 18; Stufflebean 2-2, 2-3, 6; Hoppes 0-1, 0-0, 0; Hoover 0-0, 0-0, 0; Kinnamon 0-0, 0-0, 0; Courtney 0-0, 0-0, 0; Trost 1-1, 0-0, 2; Jyse. Alexander 1-4, 0-0, 3. Totals — 29-55, 5-7, 69. 3-pointers — B. Pyle 3, Mas. Alexander 1, Jk. Alexander 1, Jyse. Alexander 1.

Andover (34) — B. Johnson 3-13, 1-2, 7; Windish 1-3, 0-0, 1-3, 0-0, 2; J. Johnson 2-8, 0-0, 5; A. Gagnon 7-12, 1-4, 16; O'Connell 1-3, 0-1, 2; Mannie 0-1, 0-0 0; Jones 0-3, 0-0, 0; Sokolosky 0-1, 0-1, 0; Fahnenstock, 0-1, 2-2, 2. Totals — 14-45, 4-10, 34. 3-pointers — J. Johnson 1, A. Gagnon 1.

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MHS JV (74) — Mx. Alexander 6, Stufflebean 6, Schmid 3, Hoppes 17, Hoover 8, Kinnamon 15, Courtney 5, Trost 10, S. Pyle 4.

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MHS 9th (53) — Jayton Alexander 20, E. Pyle 11, Powell 10, B. Labertew 10, Hardman 2.


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