What has seemed like an endless journey comes to an end Friday night for McPherson High’s basketball teams.
The Bullpups will be playing on the road for the sixth time in seven games when they trek to Augusta, the finale before MHS spends the rest of the month at home.
Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. with the girls’ game. Join 96.7 KBBE-FM’s Chris Swick for the play-by-play call, with the pre-game set for 5:40.
“They beat this Winfield team, but they got drilled by Abilene (which MHS defeated) by like 40,” MHS girls coach Chris Strathman said Tuesday after the Bullpups annihilated the Vikings 60-18. “They just had a really hard time handling Abilene’s pressure. I know Augusta is playing some younger kids and they simply weren’t ready for that.”
The Orioles suffered a 39-33 setback to El Dorado on Tuesday, a Wildcat team MHS took apart earlier this season.
Top players for the Orioles are 5-6 senior Riley Zerr and 5-9 senior Claire Dalziel. There’s not a lot of size or depth on the team, which was 4-16 last season.
Augusta does own a win over Buhler, a game in which Zerr hounded Crusader star Jessica Steffen on the defensive end to spark the victory. That means she’ll probably have the unenviable task of trying to slow down MHS sharpshooter Taylor Robertson, who is coming off a 29-point game against Winfield in which she made 7 of 9 from beyond the arc.
Strathman, whose team will be seeking to start the season 7-0, is certainly ready to wind down the road warriors part of the schedule.
“We’re looking forward to that, but we have to look forward to Friday,” he said. “Augusta does have a couple of good wins, so we’ll have to be ready.”
The boys game offers much more competitive promise. Augusta is coming off a solid 52-36 win over El Dorado and has the size and length to match up with MHS as the Orioles possess a 6-7 player in Jonny Clausing and three 6-3 players, one of which is Shrine Bowl football selection Logan Weakley.
The Bullpups, though, are coming off an 81-31 dismantling of Winfield as it marked the return of Spenser Wine to the starting lineup and it was as if he had never left as he helped MHS to a 33-of-45 night from the field.
“They’re very athletic,” said Kinnamon, whose team will be trying to improve to 6-1. “The Weakley kid, they run a bunch of lobs to try and get him some dunks. It’s one of those where it’s almost like a dunk counts 10 points if you get one. They’re well coached and they played Abilene to overtime and I saw that on film. They’re always very tough at home. We’ll have our work cut out for us.”
The Bullpups thankfully return home on Tuesday for the first time in a month, plus one day, to take on Buhler, with Rose Hill coming in on Friday. Those will be the last games before the McPherson Invitational.