One explosive quarter proved to be more than enough for the McPherson High boys here Tuesday in their 2014 debut.
The MHS boys showed no effects of a long layoff by socking Buhler with a 23-5 first-quarter knockout before living off that bulge the rest of the way for a 58-42 victory.
The Bullpups, the No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A Division I, improved to 4-0 with a huge test coming up here Thursday against Hutchinson, then turn around and travel Friday to Winfield to complete a three-game week.
MHS is now 2-0 in D-III play.
"It's hard to play when you get off to a start like that," said under-the-weather MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon, who just recently spent four days in the hospital with illness. "You see that happen a lot of times. It's difficult to do. You just let up a little bit and we did that. Some our emotion that we played with early, we lost a little bit of that. But I thought our first group really did a great job of not letting them reverse the basketball, not letting them do what they wanted to do."
The Bullpups' defense was their offense at the outset, as MHS converted turnovers into points to push the lead to 18 after eight minutes and it swelled to as many as 22 before the half ended at 30-15.
The outcome never was in doubt as the Bullpup defense was like a dragnet, especially when it came to Crusader star Jace Williams.
With pesky Peter Horton draped all over him, Williams did not have a single field goal and finished with just three points. He's a player capable of easily putting up 20.
"Jace is so hard to handle inside that I thought Peter did an admirable job of kind of limiting his touches," Kinnamon said.
Kyler Kinnamon made 9 of 9 free throws on his way to 18 points, while Drew Pyle gave a glimpse of his offensive potential by knocking down four treys and scoring 12 points.
"It was good to see Drew make some baskets," Kinnamon said. "We've never lost confidence in the fact that Drew can shoot the ball. I thought he really defended well on the perimeter."
Shawn Davis led Buhler with 12 points.
"They're a good team," Kinnamon said of the 3-3 Crusaders. "They're a team that's going to figure it out and will be a team that's going to be dangerous on down the road and be dangerous come sub-state time (Buhler and MHS are in the same sub-state)."
The MHS JVs doubled up the Crusaders in a low-scoring affair, 42-21. Marcus McDaniel and Avery Gabel led the Bullpups with 13 points apiece.
In a wild freshman game, the Bullpups missed a 3-pointer late that would have put them ahead as well as a follow shot, as Buhler escaped with a 45-43 victory. MHS was tremendously balanced as Jack Reifschneider led the scoring with eight points, while Chris Kirchner, Brock Malm and Casen Hoover all scored seven.
MHS (58) — McDaniel 0-1, 0-0, 0; Pyle 4-9, 0-1, 12; Kinnamon 4-6, 9-9, 18; R. Horton 2-4, 1-2, 5; P. Horton 3-6, 0-0 6; Nutter 3-6, 3-4, 9; Wine 0-0, 4-4, 4; Gabel 2-3, 0-0, 4. Totals — 18-35, 17-20, 58. 3-pointers — Pyle 4, Kinnamon 1.
Buhler (42) — Webster 1-9, 0-0, 3; White 0-1, 1-2, 1; Wiehl 1-1, 1-1, 3; Henricks 2-8, 2-2, 7; Davis 4-7, 4-5, 12; Ricker 1-1, 2-2, 4; Tipton 1-3, 0-0, 2; Smith 1-2, 0-0, 3; Wedel 2-2, 0-1, 4; Williams 0-3, 3-4, 3. Totals — 13-37, 13-17, 42. 3-pointers — Webster 1, Henricks 1, Smith 1.
MHS JV (42) — Gabel 13, McDaniel 13, Loecker 7, Kirchner 1, Hoover 2, Spaich 6.
MHS 9th (43) — Reifschneider 8, Kirchner 7, Malm 7, Hoover 7, Spaich 6, Leaf 6, Gerbrandt 2.