Long layoff for MHS cagers

By Steve Sell
February 01, 2017

I’ve been covering McPherson High basketball for 38 years and I don’t think I can ever recall the Bullpup teams going more than a week without a game, other than the holiday break of course.

For the boys it’s going to be two weeks between games. They last played Newton on the Tuesday after winning the McPherson Invitational, so it will be 14 days between that game and when they play at Great Bend on Feb. 7.

For the McPherson girls it will be nine days between games. When they play at Great Bend, they’ll have been idle since the Mid America Classic.

For the MHS boys the idle time does slow down their momentum as they have won four in a row and are playing their best basketball of the year. In retrospect, though, the Bullpups have been socked by illness and had they played last Friday, could have had many players not at 100 percent.

The McPherson girls also needed some rest after three games in three days.

The calendar has now flipped to February and once we get into this month the games come at a fast-and-furious pace. The Bullpup teams will play six times in a span of 17 days, three games at home and three on the road.

After Feb. 7’s games at Great Bend, the Bullpups’ last five games represent the second time through AVCTL Division III. Both MHS teams are leading the league with 5-0 records. After Great Bend, MHS stays on the road to play at El Dorado, then it’s home three of the last four, the only road trip to Towanda to play Circle, and from what I’ve been told it has a new gymnasium since our last trip there.

For the boys the highlight game will be Feb. 17 when Buhler comes to town. It’s always an intense game and Buhler pushed the Bullpups in the first meeting at Jim Baker Field House. Tanner Lackey’s fourth-quarter shooting display — he scored 18 points, including 12 in the final 2 minutes — made the game much more uncomfortable than it should have been.

Every game is important for the boys. As it stands now the Bullpups are the No. 2 sub-state seed, which would most likely mean a first-round game against Buhler on its home court. No matter the makeup of the teams, the records go out the window come sub-state. Hays still has a slim lead on the Bullpups and does have some games that could alter its record.

As for the McPherson girls the game with Great Bend as well as the road game at Circle are the only two I can see them having a problem with. MHS jumped all over Circle when the teams played at the Roundhouse, but take away the first quarter and the T-Birds actually outscored the Bullpups. Still, MHS is the more talented team as Circle goes only as far as its backcourt takes it.

As for sub-state, MHS has seen both Hays and Buhler, teams that I think it is superior to though Hays does have some potential. Ulysses is always the wild-card since it plays such a weaker schedule.

I believe if the Bullpups play to their capabilities they should be making a return trip to Salina in March.