If their performance in Tuesday’s championship game of the McPherson College Summer Basketball League is a measuring stick, then Hesston’s boys have to again be considered as a serious contender in Class 3A for the upcoming season.
The Swathers never backed down from perennial Class 4A power McPherson High at the Sport Center, and at the end they made the game’s final run for a pulsating 47-46 victory.
Hesston, down 45-40 with 3 minutes to go, outscored the Bullpups 8-2 the rest of the way for the victory. Cole McCreary’s two free throws with 22 seconds remaining proved to be the winning points, as McPherson couldn’t convert on a couple of chances at the end — including the last possession where it couldn’t get off a shot before the buzzer.
“It’s Summer League basketball,” said Hesston coach Grady Pauls. “It’s fun to get out there and have a competitive game like that. They’re a good team and they play hard. It’s good for our guys to see that.”
Ben Pyle’s 19 points led McPherson to a 27-23 halftime lead, but the Swathers came out smoking in the second half by scoring 12 of the first 16 points to grab a four-point lead. From there, the teams went back and forth as Pyle started to get some help from the Bullpups’ complimentary players.
Back-to-back treys by Zach Vogt and Dylan Fry rallied Hesston from a five-point deficit to a one-point lead, 46-45. Pyle, however, gave McPherson a 47-46 advantage with 22 seconds left with a finger roll, but the Bullpups were called for a foul 3 seconds later, resulting in the winning free throws.
Pyle scored 29 for the Bullpups, but the next-highest total was Brock Malm with just six. MHS did not have Jake Alexander, an expected huge contributor next year who is suffering from a hamstring injury. Also missing for the Bullpups was expected starting center 6-6 Sam Brossard, also recovering from an injury.
Vogt scored 15 for Hesston, while McCreary added 12 and Zach Esau had 10. Hesston made six 3-pointers in the game compared to just two for the Bullpups.