McPherson High boys basketball coach Kurt Kinnamon isn’t sure why, but he says there’s no love lost between his Bullpups and El Dorado.
That could play into Friday’s showdown at El Dorado as the Bullpups try to close out the first round of AVCTL Division III play undefeated.
MHS is 4-0 in D-III games, none of them being close. El Dorado is 2-2 after suffering a 60-42 loss to Winfield Tuesday despite jumping out to an eight-point first-quarter lead. Before the season, the Wildcats were thought by some to be the top challenger to MHS since they returned a number of starters, maybe the most in the league.
“I have great respect for (El Dorado coach) Gary Melcher. I like Gary Melcher as much as any coach in the coaching business,” Kinnamon said. “It’s a good rivalry, so we’ll just say that.”
Last year there was much hype surrounding the game in El Dorado and there was a feeling among some that the Wildcats might spring an upset, but MHS came out with cruel intentions to whipsaw their way to a 55-31 victory.
El Dorado figures to have a puncher’s chance because of guard Travis House, one of the division’s top players. He’s seen both good and bad against MHS, but with his shooting ability you never know when he’s going to go off. Jared Haury is a good big man and the Wildcats have some other players capable of putting up big numbers.
The Wildcats are 5-2 overall, which includes a one-point win over Rose Hill (48-47) and a two-point decision over Mulvane (58-56). It lost 56-42 to Buhler, a team the Bullpups easily handled.
MHS enters 7-0 overall and on Wednesday was granted the top seed in next week’s McPherson Invitational, sponsored by Midway Motors. It’s coming off a virtuoso performance by clubbing Rose Hill 77-26, a game the starters didn’t even see the fourth quarter of.
The girls’ game could get ugly. El Dorado is 0-7 and lost recently to Rose Hill by 30 points, the same Rose Hill team that McPherson High pounded by 38 points on Tuesday.
MHS coach Chris Strathman said focus would be the key for his team Friday. He wants it come out as though it was playing Buhler or another important team. MHS is 4-4 on the year and a win would push it past the .500 mark for the first time this season. However, the Bullpups are 4-0 in Division III and the expected victory would give them a perfect first time through the league.
El Dorado is coming off a 53-28 loss to Winfield on Tuesday.
Coverage on 96.7 KBBE FM from El Dorado begins at 5:45 p.m.