Special night for MHS' Pyle

By Steve Sell
February 17, 2016

It came with 6:37 to go in the third quarter. As with so many of Drew Pyle’s shots in his career, it was a long 3-pointer that simply swished.

Pyle’s trey gave McPherson High a 47-15 lead over El Dorado here Tuesday, but more importantly it moved him past the 1,000-point mark for his career. Just moments later, Pyle buried another 3-pointer to give him six on the night and 20 points. He went to the bench early since he had suffered a minor injury earlier in the game and the Bullpups had the outcome well in hand as for the night he played only 14 minutes.

Pyle, now sitting at 1,004 points, has three regular-season games left, and hopefully five more after that — two at sub-state and three at state, if all goes well.

With potentially eight games left, he has a chance to move high up on the MHS all-time scoring list.

Christian Ulsaker currently is the leader at 1,513. Others in the Top 5 are Jordan Fithian (1,287), Josh Alexander (1,283), Brian Henson (1,179) and Kyler Kinnamon (1,172).

Steve Henson, the greatest player ever to come out of MHS as he went on to play several years in the NBA and overseas, is No. 6 with 1,159. Other members of the 1,000 club are George Czaplinski (1,102), Ryan Herrs (1,063) and Jimmy Graham (1,053).

You have to wonder where Henson and Czaplinski would have finished had they played with a 3-point line. Henson made more than 400 field goals in his career and having seen every single game he played, there’s no question more than 100 would have been 3-pointers. I didn’t see Czaplinksi play, but longtime followers tell me his point total would have gone up considerably. The 1987-88 season was the first for the 3-point line and it’s had a dramatic effect on the game no question.

Getting back to Pyle, he has worked tirelessly to develop himself into a great player, as you don’t shoot the ball the way he does without hours of repetitious practice. He had his breakout performance as a sophomore in the Class 4A state championship game in 2014 when he buried four 3-pointers on his way to 21 points. MHS defeated Topeka Hayden 57-40 and then, of course, repeated as state champions last year.

He was even better last year when he was part of an ensemble that included talented seniors Kinnamon, Payton Stephens and Nathan Nutter.

Now as the senior leader, Pyle has stepped up huge. He really became known state-wide when he scored 37 points in a regionally televised game against defending Missouri big-school champion Blue Springs South, outdueling the heralded KJ Robinson, though Robinson did hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the closing seconds.

Pyle has the ability not only to just shoot the 3-pointer, but to drive to the basket and finish with either hand. He had a dandy left-hand baseline runner against El Dorado from the right side of the basket, which was nearly as impressive as the six 3-pointers he rained.

Pyle certainly will be in the discussion when talking about the all-time MHS greats, a legacy that will be enhanced even more if the Bullpups win the state title or make it to the finals. In his two-plus years as a starter, MHS is 64-2.