Bullpup cagers will be challenged here Tuesday

By Steve Sell
December 18, 2017
Kendall Shaw

McPherson High’s boys love an uptempo game.

They’ll certainly need their running shoes on Tuesday when they complete the 2017 portion of their schedule hosting Andover, which last year stunned the Bullpups 51-48 on its home court.

“We lost a tough one down there last year because we were not as focused as we needed to be. We have to guard against that happening again,” said MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon, whose team is 4-1 on the year and coming off a 79-47 rout of Winfield.

The Bullpups will face a Trojan team that would never have to worry about a shot clock.

“They are going to try and break us down off the dribble and kick for 3-point shots,” Kinnamon said. “We will not play a team that shoots more 3-pointers. When they get on a roll they are very tough to handle. They have five guys that can all shoot the 3 and drive the ball, which makes it tough for the defense. Because they shoot it so quickly, it allows for an up-and-down game.”

The Trojans are 2-2 and in one of their losses, against Goddard Eisenhower, they scored 86 points. What impresses Kinnamon is that they knocked of Maize, which is expected to be very strong this year.

Players to watch are 6-2 Braden Johnson, who had 21 points Friday against Valley Center, and 6-1 Andrew Gagnon, who had 16. Of the Trojans’ 50 field goal attempts on Friday, 29 came from behind the arc.

In the girls game, the Bullpups will be facing an Andover team that is 2-2, but is dangerous from the standpoint that it has a three-pronged attack.

“They are a solid and dangerous team, especially because they have a couple girls that will really look to shoot the 3 and can get going,” MHS coach Chris Strathman said. “Shanti Henry is a junior and has started since she was a freshman. She has a very quick release and will really look to shoot the 3 and from very deep at times. The other guard that looks to really shoot, but also attacks the rim, is another junior, Kylee Gaddis. Andover looks to be much better than last year as some of their key players were just inexperienced last season.”

Henry is averaging 17.5 points so far and has made 14 3-pointers. Gaddis averages 11.8 and 6-1 Isabelle Reynolds chips in with 11.5. The Trojans have a couple of nice wins over Andale and Goddard Eisenhower, but have lost to Maize and Valley Center, both highly regarded teams.

“We will need to be ready for a good challenge and hopefully we can play well in our last game before Christmas,” Strathman said. “It’s nice to be home again as I know we will have a lot of former students and players home from college for Christmas break.”

MHS takes a 4-1 record into the game and is coming off a 72-10 rout of Winfield. The first game of the New Year happens quickly as the Bullpups host Buhler on Jan. 2.

The girls kick off the action at 6 p.m. at the Roundhouse, with the boys to follow. Those unable to make the game can catch all the action on 96.7 KBBE-FM with Voice of the Bullpups Jim Joyner on the call.