MHS cagers to journey to Dodge Friday

By Steve Sell
February 06, 2014
Kendall Shaw

McPherson High’s basketball teams will continue their practice of playing anyone, anywhere and anytime Friday when they load up for the 150-mile trip to Class 6A Dodge City to complete a home-and-home series that started last year at the Roundhouse.

Tip time is 6 p.m., with 96.7 KBBE FM coverage starting at 5:45.

The MHS teams were to have played Tuesday at Andale, but the massive storm forced the games to be pushed back to Feb. 13.

This will be the third long trip of the year for the MHS teams, as they have ventured to Topeka and Kansas City earlier, though the boys didn’t play because of the weather.

The MHS girls are coming off a second-place finish in the recent Mid America Classic, losing 44-37 in the championship game to Class 6A and state-ranked Manhattan. The Bullpups are 8-5 overall, while Dodge City is 4-7.

But MHS coach Chris Strathman said the Demons, like the Bullpups, have not backed away from playing a difficult schedule.

“They have played some outstanding teams,” Strathman said. “They lost to Manhattan earlier in the season, and are coming off of a three-game stretch at the Newton Tournament where they played Kapaun, Andover Central, and Olathe Northwest.  Dodge is battle-tested with their schedule, so we expect a tough game at their place.”

Dodge City, which lost 49-30 to Manhattan for those who are into comparative scores, will throw plenty at the Bullpups.

“Dodge likes to change defenses quite a bit between man and zones, and they do a really nice job of utilizing their strengths with their spread offense,” Strathman said. “We will have to be sharp defensively in taking away cutters, and offensively we have to be ready to adjust to their changes.”  

Like the girls, the Dodge City boys are 4-7 overall, but 3-1 at home as they have played a road-heavy schedule so far.

Scoring points has been the Demons’ biggest drawback so far, as they have been involved in a lot of low-scoring games. They are coached by Dennis Hamilton, one of the best coaches of zone defense in the state, so the Bullpups could see a lot of that defense Friday.

"They play a variety of zones and do a good job of disguising what zone it is that they are playing," said MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon, whose team is 11-1 on the season. "We have to be patient and get the ball inside against the zone."

The Bullpups will have gone 10 days between games, as their last appearance was on Jan. 28 when they swamped Circle, 66-32. But it apparently hasn't dulled the Bullpups, according to Kinnamon.

"We have had excellent practices over the break," he said, noting the team has maintained its chemistry.

While the Bullpups will spend a lot of time on the bus, Kinnamon said the team can't use that as a built-in excuse, since Dodge City faced the same exact scenario last year.