MHS boys play sub-state opener Friday

By Steve Sell
March 03, 2016

You know it must be postseason tournament time. 

The annual “Pup Cuts” have been administered by Luke’s Barber Shop and the McPherson High boys are ready to get down to business.

For the Bullpups to have a chance at a 3-peat, they must first survive one of the toughest sub-states in Class 4A Division I.

The 19-1 Bullpups — the 2014 and 2015 state champion — open play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Ulysses taking on the host Tigers, who bring a 6-14 record into the contest. Follow the action on 96.7 KBBE-FM with Chris Swick on the call starting approximately 7:15 p.m., or 15 minutes after the completion of the first game.

That game follows what would be a championship game in most sub-states, as 16-4 Hays and 15-5 Buhler meet in the 6:00 opener.

MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon, whose team is 67-2 over its last 69 games, believes his team just needs to keep doing what it’s been doing. The Bullpups have been playing sensational defense, especially since the McPherson Invitational as they really haven’t had much of a challenge other than a road test at Dodge City.

Ulysses is somewhat of an unknown quantity, but Kinnamon says his team gives the Tigers plenty to prepare for.

“Ulysses has some good size and some shooters,” Kinnamon said. “They have not seen a defense like we plan to play on Friday night.”

In other words, that could be bad news for the Tigers. But Saturday’s game with Hays or Buhler should be titanic and Kinnamon is reluctant to make a prediction as he says the Bullpups will play whoever is in front of them.

While there’s been some consternation among McPherson fans about the near 240-mile trip West, Kinnamon said he’s taken steps to make it reasonable.

“With all of the traveling that kids do in the summer playing basketball, this is going to seem like a short trip on Friday,” he said. “We will split the trip up and stop and eat in Dodge. On Saturday we will go over to Garden City and catch a movie to kill some time until game time.”

Should the Bullpups survive, they would join what will be a somewhat depleted state field in Salina. A minimum of four of the Top 10 teams in the final KBCA poll are assured of not making it to state because of the pairings issued by KSHAA. While the Ulysses sub-state is near the top of the list, the worst may be in Basehor where No. 2 Basehor-Linwood and No. 3 Miege are expected to meet in the finals on Saturday, with the loser staying home.