McPherson High’s boys basketball team had better have its running shoes on.
The Bullpups travel to Andover on Tuesday to take on a Trojan team that exploded for 84 points in its opening game of the season — and lost.
In a wild shootout where defense apparently was an afterthought, Andover dropped a 97-84 decision to Maize South, as Mavericks star Payton Ricks poured in 40 points.
“They will play faster than anyone that we play this year,” said MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon, whose team methodically dissected El Dorado 56-22 in its season opener. “They really push the ball up and down the floor. Converting back defensively will be a key to this game. They play about 10 players and probably seven of them have 3-point range. Another key for us is going to be limiting them to one shot.”
The Trojans are coming off an 8-13 season under former Valley Center star Chad Wilmott, now in his fourth year. They are led by 6-3 Chase Oberg, who ripped the nets for 23 points on Friday.
Other key players are 6-4 Nick Kellerman, 5-10 Jacob Wilson and 5-9 Drake Short. Jacob Herrs, whose father Ryan was an All-Stater at McPherson High and later a four-year standout at Wichita State, is another player to watch.
The Bullpups will be looking for some other players to step up offensively. Drew Pyle shouldered much of the offensive load with 30 points, while the remaining Bullpups scored just 26. Kinnamon wouldn’t be surprised if in the next game or two MHS starts to see some junk defenses, such as a box-and-1 or triangle-and-2. However, given the short preparation time, the Trojans may just come out and play the Bullpups straight up.
In the girls’ game, the Bullpups also will be looking for some other players to step up offensively after Taylor Robertson scored 30 points in their 69-24 rout of El Dorado. Robertson’s total required only 16 shots, as she made a dozen baskets.
MHS coach Chris Strathman said the Trojans will present problems from a size standpoint. Isabelle Reynolds, who is 6-0, scored 15 points in the Trojans’ 57-52 season-opening loss to Maize South, while 6-0 Kaitlyn Seabrook is another inside presence.
McPherson counters with 6-0 sophomore Mandi Cooks, who for the second straight game will face somebody as tall as she is. She scored nine points on Friday as she battled early foul trouble.
“They have no returning players with any significant varsity time, but supposedly they are playing a couple of freshmen,” said Strathman, noting the Trojans graduated all five starters from a team that was 18-4 last year.
Andover has a good tradition, having won at least 16 games for seven straight years under veteran coach Max Hamblin.
Game time is 6 p.m. for the girls and approximately 7:30 for the boys. Both games will be aired on 96.7 KBBE-FM, with Chris Swick on the play-by-play call.