What a way to usher in the new year.
McPherson High’s basketball teams begin 2017 on Tuesday by making the short trip south to Buhler.
The girls tip off the action at 6 p.m., with the boys to follow. For those who can’t make the trip, join Voice of the Bullpups Matt Cole for the pre-game at approximately 5:50 on 96.7 KBBE-FM.
The MHS girls take a 5-1 record into the game, while Buhler is 1-4. For the Crusaders, this is the AS (After Steffen) Era and it’s been a rough go offensively without Jessica Steffen, their former All-Stater.
Scoring has been painful at times for the Crusaders, including 17 points in a loss to Goddard and they managed only 20 points in their final game before Christmas against future McPherson opponent Newton in a 40-point blowout.
The lone Buhler win came against Augusta, 63-52.
The MHS girls closed out their December schedule with three straight lopsided wins after losing to No. 1-ranked Miege.
For the McPherson boys, the game promises to be a donnybrook. It’s probably been a long time since the Bullpups entered the game with a lesser record than the Crusaders as MHS is 3-3 compared to Buhler’s 5-1.
Since opening the season with a 69-68 last-second loss to Goddard, the Crusaders have ripped off five straight wins. They have shown to be a good offensive team at times, with three games of 68 points or more as they like to play at a high tempo and shoot a lot of 3s.
In their final game before Christmas, Dalton Smyres’ last-second shot gave Buhler a 58-56 win over Newton.
The Crusaders have some dangerous players. Senior Tanner Lackey is one of the premier 3-point shooters in the state while rapidly improving 6-7 center Grant Owens clogs up the middle. Easton Brown and Dylan Brown are more than capable of filling it up and it should be a wildly entertaining game.
The Bullpups come in off a 51-48 loss to Andover in which they struggled mightily from the field. MHS had lost only three games in December total over the last 10 years, going 47-3.
The Bullpups are hoping to get things turned around as they start to prepare for the McPherson Invitational. At this point they are a middle-of-the-pack seed.