McPherson High’s basketball teams will be playing their third AVCTL Division III games of the season on Tuesday.
But they’ll be the second against Winfield.
In a quirk of the schedule, the Bullpups’ rematch with the Vikings takes place in Winfield before MHS has even played D-III members Augusta, Buhler or Rose Hill.
Join Chris Swick for all the play-by-play action on 96.7 KBBE-FM starting with the pre-game at 5:40 p.m. Game time is 6 p.m. for the girls and approximately 7:30 for the boys.
The girls’ game is expected to be the highlight. Winfield offered decent resistance in the first meeting as 30 points by Taylor Robertson and 16 by Mandi Cooks allowed the Bullpups to pull away to a 68-52 victory, though the Vikings hung around for most of the game.
“It is a little strange to be playing Winfield again so soon,” said MHS coach Chris Strathman, whose team is 5-0 as it outlasted Lee’s Summit 44-41 on Dec. 18 in its final pre-Christmas game. “We are definitely looking forward to getting back on the floor in real-game action though. The girls have practiced well in spurts over the break. We really need to work at becoming more consistent because that is how we have played so far in games as well. That will be a focal point for these next several games, just to start putting a complete game together.”
The concern when playing Winfield is its ability to dial it up from long distance.
“Winfield is a dangerous team with some good athletes and several that can shoot it,” Strathman said. “They hit seven 3s on us at our place so we know they can shoot from deep. A very big key is that we have to do a better job on their shooters tomorrow night.”
The highlight in the boys’ game will be the return of senior Spenser Wine. For the second year in a row he missed all of December recovering from shoulder surgery, but Bullpup coach Kurt Kinnamon reports that he’s ready to go and will be back in the starting lineup.
Wine, one of two returning starters off last year’s undefeated state championship team, is expected to provide the consistent third scorer to Drew Pyle and Ben Pyle, who have shouldered much of the offensive load so far.
“Spenser has been totally cleared and has looked as if he hasn't missed a beat,” Kinnamon said.
That’s not good news for the Vikings, who were run out of the Roundhouse 83-28 in the first meeting between the teams.
“I don't mind playing them again so soon,” Kinnamon said. “It will be nice to get the Winfield trip out of the way. We have practiced very well and I am anxious to get back on the floor. Winfield will prove to be a much tougher challenge at their place with their crowd, which is always fun to see what sort of heckling they can come up with. In past years it has provided us some nice inspiration for a road game.”
The MHS boys, 4-1 on the season, have been off since Dec. 18 when they had their 44-game winning streak snapped 71-70 by defending Missouri big-class state champion Blue Springs South on a last-second 3-pointer by All-Stater KJ Robinson.
Following the matchups with Winfield, the MHS teams stay on the road Friday to play Augusta. That will make it six road games out of seven, but the Bullpups will then play six straight games at home. In fact, they don’t head out of town again until Feb. 5 when they go to Dodge City.