MHS cagers close out 2016 Tuesday at Andover

By Steve Sell
December 19, 2016
Kendall Shaw

When McPherson High’s boys take on Andover Tuesday night in the final road basketball game of 2016, Bullpup coach Kurt Kinnamon said it will be like playing Derby 2.0.

The Trojans play a similar style to the Panthers, perhaps the only exception being they don’t have a point guard who can command the game like Derby’s quicksilver Nyjee Wright.

“Andover is a tough team because they drive the ball right at you and dare you to get good position or run the risk of being in foul trouble,” said Kinnamon, whose team will attempt to finish the 2016 portion of the schedule with a 4-2 record. “They are all about 6-2 or 6-3 and can all jump. They will play a style very similar to Derby. We have to take care of the ball and keep them in front of us.”

The game is set for 7:30 p.m. after the girls’ teams clash. Catch all the action on 96.7 KBBE-FM with Voice of the Bullpups Matt Cole on the call.

Derby gave MHS fits with its “havoc” defense, but the Bullpups also played that game without Mason Alexander, who was sitting out due to the transfer rule. Alexander has given MHS scoring punch and the added ballhandler that was missing the first two games.

MHS was a 68-44 winner over Winfield on Friday, a game where the Bullpups mixed in moments of brilliance with moments of sporadic play.

“We played pretty well in spurts at Winfield,” Kinnamon said. “We missed some defensive assignments when we trapped and gave up too many open shots. We can't afford to do this at Andover.”

The Trojans lost their first three games against quality opponents before breaking through on Friday with a 70-64 win over Valley Center. Nick Kellerman, a 6-4 forward, scored 24 points and 6-3 guard Chase Oberg added 16. 

The McPherson girls hope to get off to another great start against Andover as the first quarter has keyed two straight easy wins.

MHS led 27-5 against Abilene last Tuesday, then shot out to a 34-4 lead after 8 minutes on Friday against Winfield.

“It would be nice to be able to shoot the ball as well as we did against Winfield, but we know we can't always count on that,” said MHS coach Chris Strathman, whose 4-1 team poured in 11 3-pointers in the first half. “One thing we should always be able to count on is our defense, which still has a long way to go as far as overall rotations and communication. That will be a focal point of practice tonight after some things I saw on film versus Winfield.”

Andover played much better on Friday against Valley Center.

“Andover played a solid Valley Center team to just a 1-point margin on Friday,” he said. “They have a few girls that are really aggressive on the drive, but also not afraid to fire away from 3. We will need to be ready and focus so hopefully we can head into the Christmas break on a positive note.”

In the 40-39 loss to Valley Center, 5-7 guard Shanti Henry was the leading scorer with 12 points. The Trojans do have some size as they have 6-0 Isabelle Reynolds and 6-0 Kaitlyn Seabrook who can clog up the middle.

The Trojans are 1-3, the win coming against Goddard Eisenhower.  

When the Bullpups come back in 2017, they’ll be greeted by a road game at arch-rival Buhler.