Undefeated Abilene cagers a test for Bullpups here Tuesday

By Steve Sell
December 12, 2016
Kendall Shaw

It’s been a long time since McPherson High’s boys basketball team has started 1-2.

You have to go back 20 years, in fact.

And it’s been 35 years since the Bullpups have started 1-3.

They hope to avoid that start on Tuesday when undefeated Abilene invades the Roundhouse to continue this gauntlet of a non-conference schedule.

MHS went 0-2 last week with a road loss to Class 6A Derby and a home loss to defending Class 4A Division I state champion Bishop Miege.

Abilene arrives to town with a 3-0 record, escaping AVCTL Division III member Augusta 50-49 on Friday.

“Good to get back on the horse,” said MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon, whose team lost 87-54 to dynamic Miege on Friday. “At least we don't have to live with a two-game losing streak over the Christmas break.”

Abilene has defeated Smoky Valley and Rock Creek in addition to its win over Augusta.

“Abilene has one of the better players we will face in Ryan Wilson,” Kinnamon said. “The rest do a good job of playing their roles. We are fully expecting box-and-1 and triangle-and-2 defenses as they have already shown that on film this year.”

The Cowboys probably were already preparing for Ben Pyle, who has scored 20-plus points in all three MHS games so far. Now the addition of Mason Alexander, who had 24 points in his season debut Friday, might cause them to go to the triangle.

Kinnamon said the Bullpups will continue to work on developing scoring threats to augment them. Pyle and Alexander had all but 8 of the MHS points on Friday.

The Bullpup girls also will be facing an undefeated Abilene team as the Cowgirls haven’t been tested in their three games this year.

“We are coming off a very demanding week as we played two difficult opponents,” said MHS coach Chris Strathman, whose 2-1 team defeated Class 6A Derby but lost to defending Class 4A Division I champion Miege. “We also know that Abilene is a very quality team, as they have shown that in starting out 3-0 this year. They start five seniors, so they are an experienced bunch, even though they graduated two very good (NCAA) D-II players off of last year's team.”

The Miege game revealed to Strathman a lot about his team.

“We have to be able to handle the press better than Friday, guessing we will see that after they see the Miege film and Abilene generally presses a lot anyway,” Strathman said. “When we saw our schedule, we knew we would have a very tough stretch here before Christmas, which is very good for our team.”

The action begins at 6 p.m. with the girls and the boys should tip off shortly after 7:30. Catch all the action on 96.7 KBBE-FM with Voice of the Bullpups Matt Cole.