Mayor's Cup should be a fun night for all

By Steve Sell
October 26, 2018

It’s time to fill the Roundhouse.

It would be wonderful for the first-ever official “Mayor’s Cup” basketball games between McPherson College and Central Christian College on Nov. 7 to be played before a packed house.

The “Mayor’s Cup” idea has been floated for years, going back to the time retired Mac men’s basketball coach Roger Trimmell referred to the yearly meeting with that title. While the teams have played for more than a decade, there’s never been a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow like the traveling trophies that will be awarded after the games.

Mayor Tom Brown has thought for years it would be a good idea and he doggedly worked behind the scenes the last couple of weeks to make this happen in a hurry.

What I liked most is that he convinced both teams to play the games at the Roundhouse. Kudos to CCC coaches Tony Romero and Marc Golden for agreeing to give up their home game this year for the neutral-site contest.

Central Christian for many years was just a two-year college, so the schools never played. When Central Christian became a four-year school in the late 1990s, to me it was a no-brainer. There are lot of Central Christian and McPherson College graduates who have stayed in town to continue their careers in the work force.

Finally in 2005, the schools hammered out the details to start the series, with two games each year at the outset, but now just one is played. 

In the men’s series, the Tigers had trouble getting started. The Bulldogs won the first nine meetings, but Central certainly had its chances. Mac won in overtime in 2007, captured a two-overtime game the following year and another overtime game in 2010. Not until an 86-81 victory in 2012 did the Tigers finally break through.

Since then, however, Central has had the upper hand. Romero’s Tigers have won 3 of the last 4 and 4 of the last 6. Last year’s game at the Sport Center was a defensive battle, with the Tigers a 56-53 winner.

On the women’s side, the Tigers got off to a fast start in the series by winning two of the first three. But since then it’s been all Mac with 12 wins in a row, though there were a couple of close games in there, 75-73 in 2008 and 60-57 in 2010.

The Tigers have really struggled in recent years. Last year’s game was a 115-55 loss in Golden’s first year.

But judging from his first game this year, he has a much-improved team. The Tigers already opened their season with a loss to the University of Southwest in New Mexico, losing in the final seconds after being up by 12 points with just under 5 minutes to go. And Holly Golden, the Tigers’ best player last year, sat out the game with an injury. It has helped that Piper Kalthoff, who missed last year but was a standout 2 years ago, is back in the fold and she had a 27-point game in the opener.

I have no doubt the students from both schools will turn out en masse for a chance to witness a game in the venerable Roundhouse, which has much more capacity than Alexander Arena and the Sport Center. I think some casual fans stay away because there’s not a lot of parking at Central and Mac, but MHS games generally attract at least 2,000 fans.

Mayor Brown also has secured sponsors, is giving out participation scholarships and is promoting the game so it’s an event the entire city can be proud of. He said it’s a celebration of the impact both schools have on McPherson, as students attend our local colleges, eat in local restaurants and shop at local businesses. 

And we at 96.7 KBBE are getting involved as we’ll be broadcasting the game with “Voice of the Bullpups” Jim Joyner on the call.

This is on a Wednesday night, so there’s no NFL or college football drawing away from the game and the World Series will be over.

I urge everyone to get out and support these games. I hope the atmosphere is off the charts.