HUTCHINSON — The McPherson eighth-grade boys are champions.
The Bullpups won the Pioneer League Postseason Basketball Tournament on Thursday by outlasting Salina Lakewood, 39-31.
Seth Madron led the Bullpups with 16 points as they finished the season 13-3 after a slow start.
“What can I say, this group has improved tremendously from the beginning of the year to the end of the year and the crazy thing is they have improved so much, but still have so much more to still improve upon,” MMS coach Tyler Brown said. “When this group matures a little more and when they really put the time in, the sky is the limit with this group. I enjoyed working with all of them and hope to see them playing at MHS next year.”
The Bullpups appeared to be in trouble early, down 14-6 after the first quarter. But once they kicked it into the gear, they took control of the game and finished strong with a huge fourth quarter.
“I challenged them defensively and in rebounding the ball at the end of that (first) quarter and they responded in a big way holding Lakewood to just 2 points in the second quarter and limiting their second chances to score significantly as well,” Brown said. “We had a little dip in the third quarter again, but finished with a bang in the fourth quarter winning it 15-4. You just saw confident body language and the will to do what it takes to win. It was fun to watch each and every one of them be locked in and ready to bring home another Pioneer League Championship.”
The Bullpups had a rocky start to their season, but once they settled in they were tough to beat.
“This was a special group of boys this year,” Brown said. “They have a lot of intangibles that you can't coach. Big, athletic, quick, fast are a few things that describe this team. We won the league tournament tonight beating a very good Salina Lakewood team. Coach Cheeks does a fantastic job over there. Coach (Cody) Cape was able to assist tonight and stepped right in and contributed to a great win. That's not to say that Coach (Matt) Sandbo wasn't missed. Coach Sandbo was a huge asset to the the team. I also wanted to say thank you to our seventh-grade coach Eric Burghart. He works extremely hard to get these guys ready for eighth-grade ball. He doesn't give himself enough credit. He does a great job.”
MMS (39) — Madron 16, Ruddle 8, Brooks 6, Dukes 5, Buckbee 4.