McPherson’s eighth-grade boys played their best basketball at the end of the year, culminated by Friday’s 45-32 victory over Newton at the Roundhouse in the championship game of the Pioneer League Tournament.
Eli Pyle had his best game of the year with 17 points and Jayton Alexander furnished 14 as the Bullpups had to storm back with a big second-half performance.
“What a way to finish the year,” said MMS coach Tyler Brown, whose team struggled at the outset of the year, but got better and better as the season went along. The championship didn't come easy though. We found ourselves down 5 at halftime, 20-15. We just couldn't get the shots to fall and you could see in our body language that it was bothering us. I told them at halftime though even the best shooters in the NBA miss shots we can't get hung up on every miss. Continue to believe and be confident that the next shot is going in.”
Brown said there were many outstanding performances.
“We were playing our game, Jayton was leading the team and causing havoc as always. Max (Alexander) started to penetrate more and find the open guy. Brycen (Labertew), Adam (Elliott) and EJ (Hein) were doing all the things that don't always show up in the score box but playing their roles to perfection.”
Pyle, though, proved to be the firestarter.
“We just needed a spark to get some separation and Eli Pyle provided that,” Brown said. “He saved his sharp shooting for the championship hitting 5 3-pointers in the game, 4 of them being in the second half and 3 of those 4 in the fourth quarter that gave us a double-digit lead when it mattered. What an exciting finish. This group may be one of the highly skilled teams I've coached and once they mature they will be ‘scary good.’ I think they gave up 6 inches to most teams and still found a way to win.”
MMS (45) — Pyle 17, J. Alexander 14, Elliott 7, M. Alexander 4, Labertew 3.